Can an explosion be felt in the ground on the opposite side of the Earth like from an asteroid? Would planes in the air on that side of the Earth be able to survive? Does the shock waive follow the ground or will the curvature of the Earth limit the shock wave?

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This is from a broad question that I am breaking up in 3 questions. Feel free to edit.

Scenario 2. On or Underground in a cave?

  • $\begingroup$ Clarify what you mean by "felt". Do you mean detected by unaided human senses, or by instruments? If the latter, the answer is yes, it's routinely done with seismographs. WRT asteroids, how big is your asteroid? A big enough one would reduce the Earth to a molten blob... $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Mar 3, 2018 at 20:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Muze I'm not an expert, but I think that all your questions about asteroids impact can't be answered unless you specify the mass and relative velocity of the asteroid. And even with that information a sophisticated numerical modeling would be needed to really provide an answer. $\endgroup$ Mar 3, 2018 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ @CamiloRada Just survivable enough to still have a breathable atmosphere. How would that be stated best? $\endgroup$
    – Muze
    Mar 3, 2018 at 22:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Muze I don't know. If that is the case you are thinking about, you could start by asking how big an asteroid impact have to be to render the atmosphere unable to sustain animal life. I don't know the answer, but if somebody knows it, from there you can start asking what's the place on Earth where animals/humans would be more likely to survive such impact. $\endgroup$ Mar 3, 2018 at 22:37
  • $\begingroup$ the shock wawe will move in the crust and meet in a focal point on the other side of the planet like it did after the massive earthquake and tsunami in japan,a tiny tsunami was created and filmed in a fjord in norway it was easy to see but there was no destruction. $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2018 at 8:12

1 Answer 1


The processes are a mixture of interesting relationships. An asteroid hitting the other side of the planet that could cause such a shock would be massive in scope and would cause significant issues. As far as we known, geologists,etc, its not impossible, but very very unlikely unless we are looking at an extinction type vent. I would imagine any planes would fare well that are either in the direct patch of the asteroid or in the general vicinity of the impact. We are talking the impact equivalent of several nuclear bombs.

However, with seismological equipment (seismograph) we can with great clarity, monitor explosions, earthquakes, or impacts. Seismographs during WW2 and later where used to detect nuclear detonations.

Due to the crustal composition, or earths composition the shock-wave would travel through the lithosphere (crust and upper mantle) and I would imagine would spread similar to that of earthquakes. Such as certain waves traveling through the crust that a berried by transitions between the layers and some will pass through the liquid layers of the planet. That whole thing is enough to give you a headache, fascinating non the less.

If you want to learn more about asteroids, I would suggest starting with: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_Crater

Now it is specific to meteors and may not answer your specific question but it is an interesting read.

This information came from a geology student. This is my first post and I am just trying to follow the rules.

Hope that gave some insight!

Oh as for a cave, it would depend where, but you definitely could in the right locality and it would be the last place Id want to be, at least during impact and initial effects following the impact. If you into mega nature processes, check out the lat 1800's eruption of Krakatau, its explosion is the largest record in the US and what hear as far as Australia. Or Columbia river flood basalt or the ignimbrite storm.


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