Friday, June 5, 2009

Tunguska, 1908


On June 30 1908, in a remote region of Siberia near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River, something exploded above the Earth levelling an estimated 80 million trees in a 2,000-kilometre radius. Over a hundred years has passed since the explosion, and a definitive answer as to what constituted the event has been elusive. The most common theory regarding the “Tunguska Event” concerns a burst of air caused by an exploding meteor, asteroid or comet at least 5 kilometres above the surface of the Earth – a theory determined by the available evidence. The energy from the event was estimated to be 1,000 times greater than that recorded from the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 - approximately 10-15 megatons. Eyewitnesses to the event were few, with most reporting the sound of the explosion and subsequent tremors. People hundreds of miles away reportedly were knocked to the ground by the force of the ‘impact’. Others saw the sky “split in two” as fire and a massive windstorm ripped across the surrounding area.

In 1921, Russian mineralogist Leonid Kulik led the first recorded expedition to the Tunguska region to investigate the event. Having accepted from local reports that the incident was caused by the impact of a massive meteor, Kulik was surprised at what he found. For there was no impact crater, only a huge area of scorched trees with some in the epicentre that were still standing. Further away, trees were levelled away from the epicentre, lending credence to the theory that an explosion above the Earth had sent an air blast down and horizontally outward. Subsequent expeditions revealed mineral and metal deposits in greater prevalence in comparison to their natural occurrence in the area, meaning that something extraterrestrial had fallen to Earth.

Many theories have of course been expounded in relation to the Tunguska event. A hypothesis put forward in 1973 by two physicists at the University of Texas, made the claim that the event was caused by a small black hole passing through the Earth. However, for this theory to hold water (so to speak), an ‘exit point’ must be determined and discovered at an opposing position on the globe – somewhere in the middle of the North Atlantic. In 2007, scientists from the University of Bologna in Italy made the claim that a lake discovered in the Tunguska region – Lake Cheko - was a possible impact point of the event. Whilst agreeing that the explosion happened above the Earth’s surface, they maintain that a fragment of the meteor/asteroid/whatever did in fact hit the Earth and that the lake has formed over the last century. Certain investigations have lent support to the idea, and a one-metre piece of rock was apparently found at the bottom of the lake via magnetic readings.

A few weeks ago, Yuri Labvin, head of the Tunguska Spatial Phenomenon Foundation, released a statement saying that the explosion was caused by an alien craft intercepting an incoming meteorite or asteroid. Labvin explains that the alien craft destroyed the approaching object by crashing into it and in the process, saved mankind from a cataclysmic event. Labvin has said that pieces of quartz inscribed with ‘strange markings’ were found in the area, and are currently being examined by experts. According to Labvin, these quartz fragments are remnants of the alien craft. However, this crazy theory is subject to any of these supposed pieces of quartz being produced or at the very least, photographed and shown to a sceptical world.

by Max Drake
(Freelance writer and artist for GritFX.)


For more information on Tunguska visit: http://www-th.bo.infn.it/tunguska/

4 comments:

  1. Fascinating reading. I'd never heard of this event or the region before.

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  2. It's funny I was just reading up n this last night. There is a great reference to it in several movies.

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  3. Max,
    it's funny. Ironic. I just land out of my flying time machine in former soviet union republic. Beautiful. Lots of mountains and pretty things, art, and stuff. Looked pretty rural and much like the pacific norhtwest from the world time flying aparatus.
    Later

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  4. Hey all...

    @Adrienne - cheers, thanks for dropping by. It is quite a mystery.

    @Movie Whore - you're right Jim, many films reference it. X-Files as well - did you ever watch that show?

    @Shea - you're a strange kid. Good to see you back, buddy.

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