I often wonder why science even asks questions like this. What would happen to Missouri if a comet hit the Gulf of Mexico? In what would likely be the worst day ever, you could at least look forward to lots of surfing opportunities.

This topic came up on the paleontology sub-Reddit (which is a fun place to hang out, by the way). The question posed (and I'm paraphrasing) was if another major asteroid or comet hit the Gulf of Mexico (like the one some believe killed the dinosaurs) would cause another extinction (of us)? The scientific answers are interesting.

The consensus is that everything within a 500 mile radius of the comet/asteroid impact would be dead. Sorry, not sorry Florida, however I would fear for my good friends in Texas. Beyond that initial flash point where life perishes in a fireball, what about states like Missouri that are far away from the Gulf of Mexico to survive?

This simulation shows what would happen if enough Gulf of Mexico water was displaced to cause an inflow up the Mississippi River up to 200 meters.

Worldostats via YouTube
Worldostats via YouTube

Welcome to Surf City, USA in Missouri. That's obviously not funny, but this is an absurd question so I'm responding with absurdity.

IF a large asteroid or comet were to impact the Gulf of Mexico, survival would be impossible in the short term for many and in the long term for virtually everyone else. Would an impact like this cause the New Madrid Seismic Zone to react with its largest earthquake ever? Who knows, but it's certainly plausible. Not to mention the dust in the atmosphere that would ruin growing seasons for years if not decades.

My point to all this is there really isn't a purpose to even asking this question as it can be summed up as the worst day ever and that's it. Figuring out survival would be nearly pointless. All this is good for is the possible plot for a SyFy movie of the week.

Simulation Shows the Terror of a 7.7 New Madrid Quake in Missouri

Gallery Credit: EarthquakeSim via YouTube

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