e.g. – Natural History Museum

Simon Starling & Superflex

e.g. The earth’s path would not change noticeably as a result of the Super Egg’s Styrian impact.



The Super Egg that sits in close proximity to the Natural History Museum’s model Relief of Styria is made of stainless steel and is 53 cm high, having an approximate volume of 65 dm3 and thus a weight of ca. 510 kg, i.e. around half a ton. However when considered in relation to the scale of the Relief of Styria, 1:37.500, the Super Egg would in reality stand a colossal 19,875 m high and have an approximate volume of 3,415,672,069,000 m3 and therefore a weight of ca. 27 billion tons.


The world production of steel for the 113 years between 1900 and 2012 is currently estimated to have been 47,815,000,000 tons. The scaled-up Super Egg thus represents 565 times the world steel production over the last 113 years. The actual global production of steel for this period would instead be represented by an egg just 4.8 cm high. However if you where to stumble across this ‘global-steel’ egg in the Styrian landscape it would tower 1.8 km above your head.


By comparison, iron and steel production from Styrian ores since 1900 would correspond—when scaled to the Relief of Styria—to a truly tiny Super Egg, just 0.58 cm in height. At 1:1 scale, though, this Styrian Super Egg would be 220 m high, or over four times the height of Graz’s Eggenberg Castle.


On the basis of these facts the Super Egg on display in proximity to the Relief of Styria would almost certainly have arrived from outer space—a vast super-elliptical meteorite.


A simulation programme developed by Imperial College, London might help us understand what the arrival of just such an extraterrestrial Super Egg might mean—what impact it might have.


If a Super Egg made of iron with a diameter measuring 20 km were to hit the earth in the region of Graz at a speed of 20 km/sec and an angle of 45⁰, the resulting crater would have a diameter of 320 km and a depth of 1.7 km. The impact would result in the melting and evaporation of 42,200 km3 of rock mass, around 50 % of which would remain in the crater.


Viewed from as far away as Copenhagen, where Simon Starling and Superflex work, the fireball created by the Styrian impact would appear 70 times larger than the sun and 19 seconds after impact the heat generated would ignite clothing, newspaper, leafy trees, plywood and grass in the Danish city, while its inhabitants would experience third-degree burns. Less than 4 minutes after impact a seismic quake measuring 10.8 on the Richter scale (stronger than any quake ever recorded) would sweep through Europe, damaging even stably constructed buildings. Far greater damage, however, would be wrought by a wave of air pressure creating wind speeds of up to 607 m/sec or 2,200 km/h, uprooting 90 % of all trees, bringing down all wooden buildings and destroying multi-storey brick buildings.


Although life in a circumference of far greater than 1,000 km around the impact crater would have been virtually extinguished and all manmade infrastructure heavily damaged, the effects on the planet as a whole would be minimal. The tilt of the earth’s axis would be altered by less than 1/500th of a degree and the length of the day changed by a maximum of 37 milliseconds. The earth’s path would not change noticeably as a result of the Super Egg’s Styrian impact.


Super Egg: Design by PIET HEIN © Piet Hein A/S Denmark
SUPERELLIPSE® Piet Hein A/S Denmark


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