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Dynamical studies of the asteroid belt reveal it to be an inadequate source of terrestrial impactors of more than a few kilometers in diameter. A more promising source for large impactors is an unstable reservoir of comets orbiting between Jupiter and Neptune. Comets 100–300 km across leak from this reservoir into potentially hazardous orbits on relatively short time scales. With a mass typically 103–104 times that of a Chicxulub-sized impactor, the fragmentation of a giant comet yields a highly enhanced impact hazard at all scales, with a prodigious dust influx into the stratosphere over the duration of...

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