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A new report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that the meteorite likely struck in southern Laos, carving a 10.5 by eight mile crater now covered by a lava flow.

The find helps reconstruct some of the chaos that ensued after impact, says study co-author Kerry Sieh, a geologist at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. It could also illustrate some of what we could expect if a similarly large asteroid were to hit Earth again.

Researchers now have a slightly clearer sense of what must have happened after the asteroid hit. Roughly a mile and a quarter wide, the rock would have opened a hole larger than San Francisco in a span of seconds.

The rock's speed and force would have been enough to send pillow-sized boulders careening through the air at almost 1,500 feet per second. Sitting on the perimeter of the suspected impact site, these rocks are a tell-tale sign of a meteorite impact. “It would not have been a healthy thing to be on the receiving end of that".

The impact would have incinerated all plant and animal life within 300 miles of the impact site, and Sieh is curious how that kind of settling dust would impact all of us today. The odds of such an impact are extremely low, but still fascinate Sieh. "I've never worked on meteorites before, but I got sucked into this with my curiosity," he says.

To read more on Astronomy:

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