What are the chances of a person getting killed by meteorite strike?

On July 22, 2019, a suspected meteorite nearly the size of a football landed on a rice field in Mahadeva Village in northern Bihar, India. The light-brown colored rock, which weighed about 13 kilograms, startled the Indian farmers and sent them fleeing from the field.

The rock created a hole around five-foot deep upon crashing, and onlookers even said that object sent up a smoke after the impact. While it was not yet proven to be a meteorite, it’s not likely to be something else instead. Photos taken from the site didn’t suggest any indication of any artificial debris, like a deorbited satellite or rocket booster. Moreover, people from the site were, indeed, holding a weird-looking rock. It is now in-display at the Bihar Museum. While it is already slightly-cleaned, looking at the object clearly still doesn’t stipulate that it’s a rock you can find rice a paddy.

Fortunately, Indian farmers managed to dodge what could have been a fatal hit. But, what are actually the odds of a person getting killed by a meteorite? 

Mrs. E. Hulitt Hodges

Truth to be told, there are various past events in the past where meteorites crash onto the surface of the Earth. In 1825, a man was allegedly killed and left a woman injured by a space rock in Oriang, India. Two years later, a man was reported to have suffered from an arm injury after being hit by a meteorite.

Meteorites were also said to have interrupted a funeral in 1924, and a wedding party in 1929. Other incidents showed horses and cattle being killed by space rocks. Then, a meteorite created a bright fireball in the sky before hitting a parked car in Peekskill, New York. In 2007, the Carancas impact event in Peru, suffered sickness after the space rock incited unhealthy arsenic fumes from the ground.

A giant meteorite, nearly the size of a bus, exploded and played havoc in Russia in 2013. It boasted a force 30 times that of the Hiroshima bomb, causing broken glass, damaged buildings, and injuring around roughly 1,600 people.

Despite the given events, injuries from meteorites are still infrequent. Yet, we can’t still deny the fact that it raises concern given that a massive comet or an asteroid crashed to the planet, wiping out the dinosaurs about around 65 million years ago.

Now, what are the chances of you getting hit by a meteorite?

It’s hard to turn probability into a number as such occurrences remain so sporadic. Yet, Stephen A. Nelson, an Earth Sciences professor from Tulane University, exerted effort and did the math. In his paper in 2014, he placed lifetime odds of a person dying from a space rock at 1 in every 1,600,000.

You could more likely die from a car accident at 1 in 90, from a fire at 1 in 250, from a tornado at 1 in 60,000, from lightning at 1 in 135,000, and from a shark attack at 1 in 8 million. The great news is that you have more chances in winning the lottery at 1 in 195 million than dying from a space rock.

Nelson places the odds of dying from a massive, global space rock at 1 in 75,000. It is quite high because such foreign objects crashed on Earth, putting millions of organisms, and even entire species into extinction. 

More Readings:

Meteorite (Wikipedia)

Related Posts: