Casey’s Bolide

Executive Summary

The Casey’s Bolide project was developed to model bolide, or asteroid, impacts within the Charleston Metropolitan region. The point of modeling bolide impacts is so that local governments would be able to properly prepare for them in the case that such an event might happen. For the project two types of bolide, stony and metallic, were modeled in three different locations. An impact analysis was run on infrastructure, population, and municipalities to determine the effects of the bolides.

Model Used

The formula along with initial diameters and densities used in this model were provided by Dr. Levine of the Geology Department at the College of Charleston. Metallic and stony bolides were modeled. Each bolide modeled was given a radius of ten meters. Bolide density was calculated from given values of 2.3 grams per cubic centimeters for stony bolides and 3.5 grams per cubic centimeters for metallic bolides. Bolide mass was calculated as bolide density in kilograms per cubic meters times volume in cubic centimeters. The crater, fireball, and debris for each bolide were the calculated. Crater radius was calculated as 0.0001 times the mass of the bolide divided by two and then divided by 1,000 so that the radius would be in kilometers. Fireball radius was calculated as five kilometers for ever kilometer of crater radius. Finally, debris radius was calculated as 10.5 kilometers for ever kilometer of crater radius. For ease of reference this table shows the formulas:


The following maps present the results of the study.

The main difference, as evident by the map above and the table below, is the radii of the craters, fireballs, and debris that were created by the metallic bolides to that of the stony bolides. Metallic bolides create larger regions of destruction thereby having a greater impact on the area in which they hit.


This analysis concludes that the worst case scenario would be a metallic, rather than stony, bolide impact within the Charleston metropolitan region. Although a bolide impact of any kind would surely impact the Charleston Metropolitan region, a metallic bolide would be the worst since the sheet amount of space it would impact would be greater than that of a stony bolide. The in terms of location any of the three locations used in this model would be devastating for different regions. Impact at location one would destroy a large commercial area. Impact at location two would result in a larger number of deaths. Lastly, impact at location three would result in a large amount of infrastructure being impacted not least of which would be multiple oil facilities and an emergency care center. Choosing any of these locations as a particularly worse location does not seem possible since all present issues that would have to be dealt, but in different ways.