On June 30, 1908, an unexplained phenomenon occurred in the early morning skies over the remote Tunguska River Valley of Siberia. What catastrophic event might have occurred that would destroy millions of trees and bring so much devastation to this 800+ square mile remote Tunguskan region? Could it have been a UFO? Was it one of Tesla’s gone-awry energy experiments? Was it a mini-black hole that passed through the earth? A comet? An asteroid? What follows is an exploration of some of the possible explanations for this mysterious Tunguska Event that occurred now one hundred years ago over the Russian skies of Siberia.
Eyewitness reports spoke of seeing a blinding bluish-white light moving downwards and then turning into a billow of black smoke. The light was described as being nearly as bright as the sun. Sounds were heard as if cannons were firing. Knocking sounds were heard as if artillery was being fired. Tremors in the ground were felt. A shock wave knocked people off their feet. A thermal heat wave was experienced as hot wind raced between houses. Tree tops were visualized being snapped off and trees were burned and flattened .
As the Tunguska Event occurred, the shock wave was registered on seismic stations across Eurasia. Though the Richter scale was not developed until 1935, it has been estimated that in some places the shock wave would have been equivalent to an earthquake of 5.0 on the Richter scale . The 1966 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records states that if the collision had occurred 4 hours 47 minutes later, due to the rotation of the Earth, it would have completely destroyed the Imperial Russian Capital City of St. Petersburg (Leningrad) .
At sunset on that day, northern Europe experienced an eerie light in place of the usual darkness of the night. People could read a newspaper at midnight. Photographs could be taken in the streets. Colors of pink and green and white were reported. Was this nocturnal afterglow the result of some gas leak? Was it comet dust? Comet dust is a viable theory, actually. Comet or meteoric material will detonate on contact with the atmosphere. A spectrogram could show that the celestial glow was pure reflected sunlight. The trajectory of the object could show that it came “out of the sun” and was masked in the early morning daytime sky .
Due to the mystery as to the cause of the Tunguska Event, it has become a fertile field for science fiction. According to John Baxter and Thomas Atkins, in their book The Fire Came By , the explosion created a “pillar of fire” visible for hundreds of miles. Locals watched it change its course 180 degrees in mid-flight. With all of the compelling evidence, the conclusion reached is that the explosion was a probable nuclear-powered alien starship. A strong selling point for the book was the foreword written by Isaac Asimov, famous science-fiction author, who stated that he found the book fascinating.
In November, 1978 Leonard Nimoy, famous for his role as Spock from the television series Star Trek, hosted a television documentary titled “In Search of the Siberian Fireball” which suggested that a nuclear explosion may have been the cause of the 1908 explosion. Though scientists interviewed at the time supported the comet theory, the alien spaceship theory was definitely a more exciting explanation for the explosion .
Rumor has also suggested the possibility that Bigfoot could have been a lone survivor of an alien spaceship that crashed-landed on earth. Had this been the case, the alien intruder would have been abandoned in a hostile environment destined to wander alone awaiting future contact from the lonely skies above. If there was an alien crash, however, no spacecraft fragments have ever been found, unless of course all traces of the ship were vaporized .
According to the Tesla Memorial Society of New York , the 1908 mysterious explosion in Russia could have been linked to Tesla’s experiments of wireless transmission of electrical energy, though this is admitted as unlikely. Tesla was fascinated with “projected wave energy” processes that would create invisible particles of energy that could beam great distances resulting in electric fireballs, spherical plasmoids or ball lightning. Telsa’s “Death Ray” was described in the New York Times on September 22, 1940 . Is it possible for the Tunguska Event to have been a test firing of one of Tesla’s energy weapons?
Another postulation is that the explosion could have been from a mini-black hole passing through the Earth. This speculation is also unlikely. There is no evidence of the black hole emerging out from the other side, for one thing, and whether or not such small black holes even exist is unknown .
According to the Sandia National Laboratories supercomputer simulations in New Mexico, new simulations now show that an asteroid of only 30 meters in diameter exploding above the ground would be transported at speeds faster than sound. At this speed the asteroid would then take the form of a high-temperature jet of expanding gas, called a fireball. Because of the additional energy generated from the fireball, what scientists originally thought was an explosion at the Tunguska site of between 10 and 20 megatons of energy could have in actuality only been three to five megatons .
The bad news about the possibility that a supersonic blast wave caused by a relatively small asteroid was the cause of the Tunguska Event, is that smaller asteroids approach the Earth statistically more frequently than larger ones. Sandia’s principal investigator Mark Boslough observes that if such small asteroids will do this kind of destruction, then “we should be making more efforts at detecting the smaller ones than we have till now” . The Tunguska Event of 1908 impacted a remote area over the Tunguska River Valley, but a similar explosion over a more populated area be would in a word, catastrophic.
Now as we fast-forward to one hundred years after the Tunguska Event, we see that the Tunguska River Valley is an oasis of fertile vegetation. New plant life has a growth rate of four times the usual rate. Trees grow larger than their usual size. The entire region is like a Phoenix, rising from the ashes to produce herbs, roots and fruits that have natural nutritional benefits unique to Tunguska. And like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, Tunguska Blast is born.
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Tunguska Event Article Sources
- Wikipedia: Tunguska_event
- John Baxter and Tom Atkins, The Fire Came By, Doubleday, New York, 1976.