5 Most Destructive Meteor Strikes in History

The recent meteor explosion over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk got many people thinking about the prospect of killer death rocks hurtling through interplanetary space on a collision course with our poor little planet. Others took a more reasoned approach in their responses, realizing that notable meteor impacts are extremely rare. But they do happen, and when sizeable “near earth objects” become so near that they smash into the earth, you might want to be somewhere else.

5 The Cosmic Missile Shot Right Through the Roof of Mrs. Hodges Home

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The most destructive meteor strike ever for one Mrs. Elizabeth Hodges happened in 1911 when a small meteorite hit her in the hip. All Hodges wanted to do was take a relaxing nap on the couch of her Alabama home, but a small meteorite travelled untold miles with different plans for her afternoon. The cosmic missile shot right through the roof of Mrs. Hodges home, bounced off her radio and struck her on the upper thigh, causing bruises and an awesome story for her to tell over cocktails.

4 The South Pole-Aitken Basin

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The biggest known meteor impact of all was totally out of this world! But not by much – it took place on our very own moon. The South Pole-Aitken basin on the earth’s moon is the largest known impact crater ever. It is more than eight miles deep, and nearly 1,600 miles across. As it is not on the side of the moon we can see from earth, this massive impact crater was only discovered in the 1960s.

3 The Tunguska Event

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The most destructive meteor strike of the 20th century occurred in an area so remote that not a single human being was killed. Bad news, though, if you were a pine tree living near Tunguska in the year 1908. The Tunguska Event leveled over 80 million trees, and the destruction covered almost 850 square miles of remote Siberia.

2 The Vredefort Crater in South Africa

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While the Yucatan meteor strike was likely the most deadly of all impacts, it was not, in fact, the most devastating meteor strike in terms of pure power and scale. The Vredefort crater in South Africa is a staggering 200 miles across, making it approximately twice the diameter of the Chicxulub crater from the Yucatan. Fortunately this impact occurred some two billion years ago, a good billion years before any form of complex life evolved.

1 K-T Extinction Event That Polished off the Dinosaurs

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Measured by pure lethality, the meteor that struck near the present-day Yucatan Peninsula some 65 million years ago wears the crown of most destructive meteor. The meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk was about 55 feet across, and it was enough to injure more than 1,500 people. The Yucatan asteroid was likely some 6.2 miles wide. No wonder it was the main cause of the mass K-T Extinction Event that polished off the dinosaurs. And many other animals. And most plants.

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