Monday, 30 June 2008

The Tunguska Event- 100 Years Ago Today!




A hundred years ago today, one of the biggest explosions ever to have hit the Earth took place. In the darkest corner of the Siberian forest a blast as powerful as 30 megatons leveled 830 square miles of forest. The Earth rang like a bell and it was felt by seismographers all over the world. It was always thought to be an asteroid or cometary impact, but when scientists got to study it in more detail, some strange anomalous evidence arose.
Because of its location, in a remote and uninhabited area, and because of the political turmoil in Russia at the time, it wasn’t until 1921 that the newly-formed Soviet Academy of Science sent an expedition to visit the explosion zone itself. The expedition leader, Leonid Kulik, was expecting to find an impact crater where the object struck the Earth, with fragments of the meteorite buried in it, but found nothing except a 30 mile wide area of devastated blown-down trees and new young trees growing between them. At “ground zero” a few bare tree trunks were left stranding with all their branches and bark stripped off. He forced to conclude that the object must have exploded in the air when it hit a denser air pocket pulverizing it and scattering its fragments beyond reach, but somehow that didn’t feel right to him, or to many others. To this day, the Tunguska Event is still a mystery.
Kulik lived before the invention of the nuclear bomb (some would therefore call him very lucky!). If he hadn’t then he might have seen that what happened at Tunguska had the hallmarks of a nuclear explosion. The tree trunks left standing upright at ground zero, the signs of a sudden and powerful heat flash that caused instant combustion. The same kind of data can be found at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There were some eyewitnesses too. It is thought no human was killed by the explosion because it hit in such a remote area, but people in the surrounding towns and villages saw and heard it. Listen to what one of them had to say:
“We had a hut by the river with my brother Chekaren. We were sleeping. Suddenly we both woke up at the same time. Somebody shoved us. We heard whistling and felt strong wind. Chekaren said, 'Can you hear all those birds flying overhead?' We were both in the hut, couldn't see what was going on outside. Suddenly, I got shoved again, this time so hard I fell into the fire. I got scared. Chekaren got scared too… it became mighty bright, how can I say this? As if there was a second sun, my eyes were hurting, I even closed them… The morning was sunny, there were no clouds, the Sun was shining brightly as usual, and suddenly there came a second one!”
Chuchan of the Shanyagir tribe.

The “second sun” sounds just like descriptions of the incredibly bright light of a nuclear explosion. But this was in 1908! Decades before the Bomb was invented… by humans. What if it was an explosion caused by,,, non-humans? This was published in The Sibr newspaper on the 2nd of July 1908:

"’On the 17th of June (30th of June by our calender), around 9 AM, we observed an unusual natural occurrence. In the N Karelinski village (200 verst N of Kirensk) the peasants saw to the North-West, rather high above the horizon, some strangely bright (impossible to look at) bluish-white heavenly body, which for 10 minutes moved downwards. The body appeared as a "pipe", i.e. a cylinder. The sky was cloudless, only a small dark cloud was observed in the general direction of the bright body. It was hot and dry. As the body neared the ground (forest), the bright body seemed to smudge, and then turned into a giant billow of black smoke, and a loud knocking (not thunder) was heard, as if large stones were falling, or artillery was fired. All buildings shook. At the same time the cloud began emitting flames of uncertain shapes. All villagers were stricken with panic and took to the streets, women cried, thinking it was the end of the world.’ The author of these lines was meantime in the forest about 6 verst N of Kirensk, and heard to the NE some kind of artillery barrage, that repeated in intervals of 15 minutes at least 10 times. In Kirensk in a few buildings in the walls facing north-east window glass shook."


This sounds like a UFO sighting! Could the Tunguska Event have been caused by a UFO? This is the hypothesis of the book The Fire Came By by Thomas Atkins, John Baxter and Issac Asimov. They speculate that the UFO was experiencing catastrophic technical problems and knew that it was about to blow up. So the crew piloted it to a place where the explosion could do the least damage. That was courageous and charitable of the aliens; they knew that they were doomed, but still thought of us during their death-throes. Thanks, guys. There are other theories too, ones linked to strange experiments being carried out at the same time by the electrical genius Nikola Tesla. This theory was first proposed in the Repairman Jack novels by F. Paul Wilson, but has since been brought out into the non-fiction realm as a serious theory.


This is a long and engaging subject, but I hope I’ve introduced you to it well and encouraged you to look further. Here’s a good place to begin your further studies: Listen to a reconstruction of the sound of the blast itself!: http://planetologia.elte.hu/1cikkeke.phtml?cim=tunguska.html

17 comments:

wise woman said...

Excellent Ben - thanks for bringing this up on its anniversary.
So 6 years before WWI - I'd been wondering if there may have been some introductory events to the Great War & this makes me wonder...
I've read a lot about it - you've just got to wonder how so a huge event can have been so ignored media-wise.
Can't help thinking of the man made impact of Lochnagar - 8 years & 1 day later.
Excellent will mull this over.

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Thanks, WW. Yes, I wonder if there's a link because Lochnegar Crater was the biggest man-made explosion too.

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