What If a Comet Hits Earth?

Imagine that one of Shoemaker-Levy 9's bigger pieces -- a mile or two in diameter -- is streaking in at 130,000 m.p.h., except that the target is not Jupiter but Earth. The mammoth chunk of rock and ice tears through the atmosphere and smashes into the ground with the force of 6 million H-bombs, gouging out a crater the size of Rhode Island and throwing so much pulverized real estate into the stratosphere that the sun is blocked for months and Earth goes into a worldwide deep freeze. If the comet hits an ocean, a pall of dust rises from underwarter...

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