Pretty much what it says on the tin. Would an asteroid like say, the one that killed the dinosaurs be like a massive atomic bomb? With the eyes melting, bodies burnt to a crisp, leaving only shadows behind, etc. (Minus the radiation)

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    $\begingroup$ Could you be a little more specific? Maybe give a similar qualification for the atom bomb that you did for the asteroid? Obviously, Hiroshima didn't destroy many species of animals, but many different iterations of atomic bombs have been created since; is there one of these you specifically had in mind? Or perhaps you're more interested in the type of destruction they both cause and if they're similar? In either case I’m not entirely sure if this is the best SE for this kind of question $\endgroup$
    – Justin T
    Jun 15, 2022 at 2:47
  • $\begingroup$ My opinion is that this SE is fine for the question. The physical effects of nuclear explosions are well characterized for some bombs. I think there is a good chance for an outstanding answer here. $\endgroup$
    – Connor Garcia
    Jun 15, 2022 at 3:34
  • $\begingroup$ A nuke might seem impressive, but it's pretty tame compared to a hurricane. From aoml.noaa.gov/hrd-faq/#hurricane-mitigation A fully developed hurricane can release heat energy at a rate of 5 to 20×10¹³ watts and converts less than 10% of the heat into the mechanical energy of the wind. The heat release is equivalent to a 10-megaton nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes. $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Jun 15, 2022 at 12:30

1 Answer 1


There's quite a bit of radiated heat when a massive meteorite hits the Earth, so that heat could already 'burn you to a crisp'.

However, with nuclear weapons ranging up to 50 megatons (Product 602 aka Tsar Bomba's, with a design limit of 100 Mt), that energy is already exceeded by a stony impactor in the rather moderate 130 m size range.

The Chicxulub impactor that likely wiped out the Earth's dinosaur population (and a lot others) is estimated to have had a size of 10 km and and an energy of 100 teratons of TNT (or 100.000.000 megatons), dwarfing any nuclear arsenal currently imaginable (short of antimatter weaponry).


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