Articles | Volume 11, issue 11
Research article
11 Nov 2011
Research article |  | 11 Nov 2011

Proposal of a Spatial Decision Support System architecture to estimate the consequences and costs of small meteorites impacts

E. Garbolino and P. Michel

Abstract. On a frequency, depending on their size, small celestial bodies enter into the Earth atmosphere and collide with our planet. On a daily basis, the size is likely to be about 20 cm, while for monthly events the largest it may be is about 1 m. The last significant witnessed event occurred in 1908 in the Siberian area of the Tunguska. The forest was devastated over an area of 2000 km2. According to recent estimates, this kind of event could occur with a frequency of one per hundred to thousand years. Since the last century, the demography and the urbanisation have significantly increased. Although the probability that such an event occurs over a populated area remains small, if this happened, it could cause significant damages (industrial, shopping centres, recreational places, etc.). From the analysis of the data on meteorites that have impacted the Earth, of the orbital and size properties of small threatening bodies as well as their potential impact outcome, this paper proposes a methodology to estimate the damage resulting from the impact of objects of given sizes. The considered sizes are up to the maximum threshold for local damages (less than a hundred metres in diameter) on some given territory. This approach is based on an initial definition phase of collision scenarios. Then, a second phase consisting of the accurate modelling of the territory, taking into account the land-use, the spatial distribution of the populations and goods, and the characterisation of the biophysical vulnerability of the stakes using thresholds of dangerous phenomena (overpressures). The third phase is related to the impact simulation on the territory, the estimation of the stakes potentially exposed and the costs of the destruction. The aim of this paper is to make a demonstration of principle, using as a study case the city of Nice that benefits from a complete database of infrastructures.