Scientists reveal tsunami threat to King’s Lynn from asteroid strike

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A shock report from experts that hit the headlines this week predicted disaster for West Norfolk ... by way of an asteroid-generated tsunami .

The somewhat disquieting news was released to be timed with International Asteroid Day on Tuesday.

The prediction from scientists was made after a simulation using new software “Armor” showed that there is a one-in-10,000 chance that a space rock could hit the waters off the north Norfolk coast in the next 85 years.

The land pinpointed as being at risk stretched from Lynn in the west, all the way around to Lowestoft.

The University of Southampton developed the computer program known as Armor to predict the impact “corridors” of known asteroids and calculate the risk from them.

The maps show the wide asteroid risk zone running through Europe, passing directly over Scandinavia, Germany, France and Spain.

The risk to the UK is from the space rocks falling into the Atlantic Ocean or North Sea. The software allows scientists to calculate the region and extent of damage.

Doctorate student Clemens Rumpf, who developed the software, said it will help organisations like the United Nations to act.

He said: “We have discovered around 13,000 asteroids and around 500 of them have a chance of hitting Earth.”

Armor also allows seeing how a small push will deflect the rocks.

Dr Hugh Lewis, Senior Lecturer in Aerospace Engineering, at the University of Southampton, told the Daily Telegraph: “When you look at global vulnerability Britain is at very high risk.

“You might think that is odd because we are a very small country but we have a high population density on the coastline so that means we are vulnerable to an impact in the Atlantic Ocean.”

Big asteroid impacts like the one believed to have sounded the death knell for dinosaurs 65 million years ago are rare.

The last large asteroid to hit Earth was the Tunguska impact of 1908 which felled 80 million trees over an area of 830 square miles, with the energy of 1,000 atom bombs.

Smaller ones like the 2013 that came to earth in Chelyabinsk in Russia, when an 18-metre wide object caused widespread damage, are also potentially dangerous.

The 7,000-tonne meteoroid exploded in the skies with the force of 30 atomic bombs, blowing out windows, destroying buildings and injuring 1,000 people with a hail of debris.

A computer simulation by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory recently showed that asteroids of about 165ft in diameter crashing into the ocean could produce waves up to 10ft high.

Nearly 1,000 potentially hazardous asteroids periodically cross the Earth’s orbit. While the smaller ones burn, those bigger than 100 metres reach the Earth.

This can happen as frequently as every 30-40 years.

Only one per cent of asteroids are thought to be known about at present.