One day in the year 1908, an explosion 1,000 times greater than that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima by the Americans erupted in a remote Siberian wilderness, this event shatteref the calm of the icy landscape and flattened 80 million trees in the area.
This event happened on June 30, 1908, at around 7:17 a.m. local time. The few inhabitants of the remote Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk Krai awoke to see a column of blue light, nearly as bright as the sun, moving across the sky.
S.B. Semenov, a peasant who lives in the area as at that time, described the event, in this manner;
“Over Onkoul’s Tunguska Road, the sky split in two and fire appeared high and wide over the forest. The split in the sky grew larger, and the entire northern side was covered with fire.”
“At that moment I became so hot that I couldn’t bear it as if my shirt was on fire; from the northern side, where the fire was, came strong heat. I wanted to tear off my shirt and throw it down, but then the sky shut closed, and a strong thump sounded, and I was thrown a few meters.”
Another accounts include that of Luchetkan, who is a member of the indigenous Tungus, he said;
“Of some reindeer they found the charred carcasses; the others they did not find at all. Of the sheds nothing remained; everything was burned up and melted to pieces—clothes, utensils, reindeer equipment, dishes, and samovars…”
From the outset of the event, researchers quickly concluded that the blast was an air burst caused by a massive meteor falling to earth.
In 1921, more than a decade after the event, Soviet scientists set out for the site of the blast in order to investigate it. They hoped to find the meteor for the iron and other mineral deposits it likely held.
However, they were unable to find any crater at the epicenter of the blast, near the Stony Tunguska River. Instead, they found a ring of scorched trees, still standing, with their branches torn off.
The scientists later concluded that it must have been a meteor that exploded while entering our atmosphere, but they did not discover any impact craters from the potential fragments. Many small indentations were initially considered but were ultimately rejected as these small craters.
There is no clear proof as to the cause for the blast, as a result theories on the Tunguska Event began to emerge.
One of such theories on the Tunguska Event is the one proposed by astrophysicist Wolfgang Kundt who proposed the theory that the explosion was caused by an explosion of 10 million tons of natural gas released from within earth’s crust.
Another theory is that the Tunguska body was an extinct comet with a stony mantle that allowed it to penetrate the atmosphere.
British astronomer F. J. W. Whipple suggested that the Tunguska body was actually a small comet. Unlike meteoroids, which are celestial objects made out of minerals and rock, comets are structures composed of ice and dust.
Till this day an impact crater for the Tunguska body has never been found, leaving this enormous explosion still a scientific mystery waiting to be cracked.
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