There are millions of rock fragments that hit Earth from space each year, but they burn up in Earth’s atmosphere and look like shooting stars in the sky. Photo/Explanation of the Universe
Rocks that land on Earth from outer space are called meteorites. Scientists estimate that fewer than 10,000 meteorites hit Earth’s soil or water. Space rocks that usually end up as meteorites are known as meteorites, small asteroids, or the smallest rock members of the Solar System.
“About 6,100 meteorites fall to Earth per year, and about 1,800[fall]on the ground,” said Gonzalo Tancredi, an astronomer at the University of the Republic in Montevideo, Uruguay. 2022).
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According to the American Meteor Society (AMS), meteorites range in size from large boulders about 3 feet or 1 meter across to micrometers the size of dust grains. To estimate how many meteorites hit Earth each year, Tancredi analyzed data from the Meteorological Society.
From 2007 to 2018, there were 95 reports of meteorites falling to Earth, an average of about 7.9 reports per year. It is impossible to know with certainty how many meteorites fell into the ocean and remained submerged to the bottom.
Tancredi estimated that the total number of terrestrial meteorites that fell to Earth is equal to the number of meteorites reported in urban areas divided by the percentage of Earth’s land area covered by urban sprawl. It is known, 29% of the Earth’s surface is covered by land and 55% of the people live in urban areas, which cover about 0.44% of the land.
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Tancredi noted that the space rock, measuring about 33 feet, or 10 meters, is expected to enter Earth’s atmosphere every six to 10 years. A rock large enough to cause an eruption like the Tunguska event of 1908 in Russia occurs every 500 years.
Large-scale cosmic impacts from a rock about 3,280 feet, or 1 km wide, are estimated to occur every 300,000 to 500,000 years. “The kind of collision that ended the Cretaceous and wiped out the dinosaurs probably happened once every 100 million to 200 million years,” he said.