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Risk of death from meteorite impact

Bottom line

The risk of dying from a meteorite impact large enough to produce an impact site the size of Meteor Crater in Arizona (approximately 40 megaton) is only 1 in 765 million.

Data sources

"Damage by impact, the case at Meteor Crater, Arizona" written by Linda M.V. Martel from Hawaii's Institute of Geophysics and Planetology url:

What the sources tell us

Give us the odds

Annual risk of death from meteor stike

Risk Communication Tool (c) John Paling 2000 (



This doesn't seem a very big risk, but of course a much smaller meteor than that which created Meteor Crater would still be enough to give us a bit of a headache. But then Bandolier's head is somewhat smaller than 1000 sq km across.

The fact is that most of us, in our lifetimes, have never heard of anyone killed by a falling meteor, so whatever

It is interesting to ask the question - "What would you do if you were having a gin and tonic in the sunshine and someone told you to run because a meteor might hit."

The answers seem evenly divided between those who would run, and those who would demand an especially large gin and tonic.