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Poisonous Effects of Asteroid Impacts or Nuclear Explosions in the Western Regions of the Black Sea

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  • 1 Candida Oancea Institute, Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania
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Abstract

The impact of an asteroid or a very large nuclear explosion in the Black Sea may cause a poisonous hydrogen sulfide gas release into the atmosphere. Some effects of this phenomenon on the western Black Sea coasts are evaluated in this paper. Two simple models are proposed to describe the generation of the H2S cloud. The wind speed plays an important role in H2S cloud dynamics. The land surface area covered by the H2S cloud generated by a 1000-m-sized asteroid during the run-in ranges between about 4480 and 9600 km2. This may affect up to 230 000 people. In the case of a 70-m-sized asteroid, the cloud covers between 70 and 210 km2 of land. This may affect between about 1600 and 5100 people. The evaluations do not include the population of the towns on the seashore and may be a few times underestimated for some particular wind directions. These effects are briefly compared with more usual effects associated with asteroids impacting the sea, such as shock waves and tsunamis. Nuclear explosions of 1 and 50 Mton TNT may be assimilated to the impact by asteroids of about 33- and 120-m diameter, respectively.

* Corresponding author address: Viorel Badescu, Candida Oancea Institute, Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Spl. Independentei 313, Bucharest 79590, Romania. badescu@theta.termo.pub.ro

Abstract

The impact of an asteroid or a very large nuclear explosion in the Black Sea may cause a poisonous hydrogen sulfide gas release into the atmosphere. Some effects of this phenomenon on the western Black Sea coasts are evaluated in this paper. Two simple models are proposed to describe the generation of the H2S cloud. The wind speed plays an important role in H2S cloud dynamics. The land surface area covered by the H2S cloud generated by a 1000-m-sized asteroid during the run-in ranges between about 4480 and 9600 km2. This may affect up to 230 000 people. In the case of a 70-m-sized asteroid, the cloud covers between 70 and 210 km2 of land. This may affect between about 1600 and 5100 people. The evaluations do not include the population of the towns on the seashore and may be a few times underestimated for some particular wind directions. These effects are briefly compared with more usual effects associated with asteroids impacting the sea, such as shock waves and tsunamis. Nuclear explosions of 1 and 50 Mton TNT may be assimilated to the impact by asteroids of about 33- and 120-m diameter, respectively.

* Corresponding author address: Viorel Badescu, Candida Oancea Institute, Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Spl. Independentei 313, Bucharest 79590, Romania. badescu@theta.termo.pub.ro

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