Rusmedia – the infochannel of Euro-Rus

For a great Europe, from Gibraltar to Vladivostok !

100 years on, mystery shrouds massive ‘cosmic impact’ in Russia

Posted by Kris Roman on June 29, 2008

A hundred years ago this week, a gigantic explosion ripped open the dawn sky above the swampy taiga forest of western Siberia, leaving a scientific riddle that endures to this day.

A dazzling light pierced the heavens, preceding a shock wave with the power of a thousand atomic bombs which flattened 80 million trees in a swathe of more than 2,000 square kilometres (800 square miles).

Evenki nomads recounted how the blast tossed homes and animals into the air. In Irkutsk, 1,500 kilometres (950 miles) away, seismic sensors registered what was initially deemed to be an earthquake. The fireball was so great that a day later, Londoners could read their newspapers under the night sky.

What caused the so-called Tunguska Event, named after the Podkamennaya Tunguska river near where it happened, has spawned at least a half a dozen theories.

The biggest finger of blame points at a rogue rock whose destiny, after travelling in space for millions of years, was to intersect with Earth at exactly 7:17 am on June 30, 1908.

Even the most ardent defenders of the sudden impact theory acknowledge there are many gaps. They strive to find answers, believing this will strengthen defences against future Tunguska-type threats, which experts say occur with an average frequency from one in 200 years to one in 1,000 years.

“Imagine an unspotted asteroid laying waste to a significant chunk of land… and imagine if that area, unlike Tunguska and a surprising amount of the globe today, were populated,” the British science journal Nature commented last week.

If a rock was the culprit, the choices lie between an asteroid — the rubble that can be jostled out of its orbital belt between Mars and Jupiter and set on collision course with Earth — and a comet, one of the “icy dirtballs” of frozen, primeval material that loop around the Solar System.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: