What would happen if a meteor hit the Earth?

Curriculum Connections

Grade 6: Understanding Earth and Space Systems

3.1 identify components of the solar system, including the sun, the earth, and other planets, natural satellites, comets, asteroids, and meteoroids, and describe their physical characteristics in qualitative terms. (Comets are the largest objects in our solar sys- tem; their centres contain rock particles trapped in frozen liquid; their tails are made up of gas and dust.)

Skills Developed: Observing, Predicting

Activity sourced from:

Comet, Meteoroid , Meteor, or Meteorite?

Ever wonder what a shooting stars really is or where they come from? Well it turns out its not really a star at all. Its a meteor!

Meteoroid: A small particle from an asteroid or comet orbiting the Sun.

Meteor: A meteoroid that is observed as it burns up in the Earth's atmosphere - a shooting star.

Meteorite: A meteoroid that survives its passage through the Earth's atmosphere and impacts the Earth's surface.

Lets create a model that to explore the effects of a meteor hitting the Earth.

Here's What You'll Need


  1. Put some flour or fine sand in the pan, covering the bottom with at least 3 cm. Alternatively, you can also go out into a nearby sand box.
  2. Gently drop or throw the “meteors” (marbles or stones) into the flour or sand, starting at about 50 cm above the pan.
  3. Vary the size of the meteor, the speed of the meteor and the angle of impact of the meteor. What are the results?

what does this have to do with me(teor)?

When meteors make it through the atmosphere and land on the surface of the Earth as meteorites, these special rocks can teach scientists a lot about space. Many scientists study meteorites to learn about what kinds of matter can be found in outer space. Some scientists have even started looking for proof of alien life on these meteorites!

The impact of meteorites on the Earth’s surface can create unique landforms and affect the geology (landforms, rocks and minerals) of the region where the impact took place. The Sudbury Basin is a unique geological region of Ontario that has rock formations and mineral deposits created as a result of a meteor impact in the Paleoproterozoic era - about 1.8 billion years ago! This region of Canada is famous for its mining industry.