February 21, 2013
Interactive Map Shows Every Known Meteor Impact Since 2300 BCE
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
With all the recent meteor events, such as last Friday´s that exploded over Russia, injuring more than a thousand people, and the possible smaller explosion over Cuba just a day later, many may be wondering if similar events have occurred in their neck of the woods anytime in the past.For those who are really interested in knowing, there is a new meteor heat map that shows every meteoric event that has occurred on land since around 2,300 BCE. The map is the brainchild of Javier de la Torre, cofounder of the geo-software firms Vizzuality and CartoDB.
De La Torre used data from the Meteoritical Society to produce a world map showing the heat signatures of every location on earth where scientists have discovered evidence of meteorite impacts. In all, the map shows 34,513 recorded points on Earth that have meteoric evidence. The map, of course, does not include any data where no scientific evidence has been recorded or for any ocean impacts that are impossible to account for.
De La Torre said that creating the map was easy and only took about 30 minutes using the OpenStreetMap platform. The map, which is available on de La Torre´s site (here), has a zoom feature allowing users to hone in on any particular area to see where these meteorites have left their mark. The map is also interactive. By clicking on a hot spot an infopane pops up giving details on the meteorite impact's location, type of meteorite that fell, apparent size of the beast, and the year it was discovered.
De La Torre said he was inspired to create the map after the Russian meteor explosion last week, and also after seeing a similar map The Guardian newspaper created on its website using the same data. He also created a video showing how he created the heat data map.
"I think lot of people got curious about meteorites after the Russian one. I think it is very interesting to learn about them by looking where they fall down. Obviously, this map does not necessarily tell us where they fall down more, probably that's on the poles, but it is curious to learn about the biggest ones in history... if people get interested on learning more science with maps like this it will be awesome," de La Torre said in an interview with Carl Franzen of The Verge.