what/who caused the tunguska blast ?

  • comet
  • meteorite/asteroid
  • aliens, intentionally or not
  • anti matter
  • weird and freakish manifestation of space/time, like a black hole, a quantic singularity, god farting and so forth
  • nikola tesla
  • something else (please make post and explain)
0 voters

since things seem to be getting boring around the natural sciences forum, i thoguht i’d oblige and come up with something.

so here it is, as found on rotten.com :

On 30 June 1908, there was an explosion in Siberia. It was caused by something that fell from the sky in a fireball.

Some sense of scale is required to fully appreciate the magnitude of this explosion.

The blast killed animals and knocked down trees over more than 800 square miles. In contrast, the atomic bomb blast at Hiroshima created a zone of total destruction of just four-and-a-half square miles.

And 800 square miles was just the kill zone. The effects of the blast rattled and even broke windows more than 250 miles away. It caused atmospheric disturbances as far as Great Britain. The earth trembled all over Russia.

The explosion was the greatest devastation wrought during recorded history, and the only reason it isn’t a major feature in the history books is the fact that Siberia is so damn empty. Despite the biblical scale of the destruction, only one man was reported killed (when he was thrown against a tree). Had the explosion taken place over a city, it could have killed millions and would easily have been the most deadly single event in history.

So what the fuck caused this apocalyptic scene? Alarmingly, no one has the slightest idea. Fortunately, almost everybody has an opinion.

On the bright side, we live in an age that admits to very few genuine mysteries. Tunguska is an honest-to-god mystery. It’s not a matter of interpretation (like the Bermuda Triangle) and it can’t be simply dismissed by the skeptics. It reminds us that for all we know, there is still a hell of a lot we don’t know. If this mystery endures for the ages, would that really be so bad?

explain away, and feel free to vote in the poll, too.

Hi zeno:

This forum does need a little more action.

Initially, because I was pissed off at some of the brighter and better informed posters, I thought that I would offer the opinion that Tunguska was caused by the biblical demigods of Genesis having a latter day orgy. After all fantasy is just an alternative World View.

But now I will play nice and say that it was probably caused by a meteorite/asteroid.

The only insight that I might be able to offer is that I don’t think it could be caused by anti matter because I don’t believe that there would be a shock wave. In the case of positron/electron annihilation two very high energy photons are released in opposite directions and they would pass through the earth basically undetected, at least by any equipment available at the time.

Thanks for the post.

well it depends. a photon has limited states of energy, it can not get as much as is needed, which is why fotons are not the only result of high power nuclear interactions. all sorts of particles would likely emerge, from tachions to heavy mu and pi-ons. eventually some of them would interact with atoms and generate heat, hence a shockwave.

as if we could know, that phenomenon was worth way in the quadrillions of joules, whereas most of laboratories study tiny fractions of a joule worth of reactions.

nice to see you btw, what rock were you under ?

Hi zeno:

On a slightly technical point, as I recall, the energy states of a photon are quantized but they are not limited.

You are probably right about the secondary particles, especially in larger anti mater groupings such as anti Hydrogen or anti Helium. (Did you know that designer atoms have been created using anti protons in place of electrons? God life is cool).

There is also the possibility of regenerating heavier mater through pair creation with the Earth’s core generating the Electro Magnetic field.

Do you know if there is any evidence of material deposited around the Tunguska site that would typically be associated with asteroids? I think that the asteroid theory, associated the extinction of the dinosaurs, was supported by deposits of an isotope of Iridium geologically dated to 65 million years ago.

I have been under a number of rocks the last 3 or 4 weeks. Business trips to Kansas City and Los Angles, vacation to the north shore of lake Superior, and a visit from a very religious mother in law for a week. I had to hide my Evolutionary Mechanisms research and delete all links to it from my computer!

Hopefully in the next week or so I will try to make a post on mass and light.

My two cents worth is that it probally wasnt a meterite just because of the amount of debries that would have been thrown into the air possible wrecking more damage that way. When Mt st helens blew its top, smoke ask and other junk blotted out the sun for hundreds of miles and layered everything in fine ash. When the atomic bomb exploded fallout was recorded in the United stats, so it makes sense that if a meterorite hit earth blasting 800+ miles to bits and peices there would be somedust left in the air. Unless you failed to incude that in your post or i missread then it rally could not be a Meterorite.

However, if there was a natueral reasource there that suddenly went boom, then the debrie might be less. For instance a long vein of natural gas that was honeycombed throughout the land and close to the suface might have accidently been set off doing massi=ve damage but with little debrie.

This is an interesting topic.

If it wasn’t a rock or a comet then what are some ideas about how such energy could be released?

If it was a random object from space then the planet was lucky that it hit in such an islolated area.

No. that is the problem. nobody could find any reasonable ammount of matter that could reasonably be from outerspace anywhere in the area.

There are a few ways to determine wether material is from outer space, including radiation, spectrometry and composition in particular isotopes.

The fact that the region is VERY inacessible, and also the significant ammounts of snow could however very well account for that. Maybe.

But the real problem with the meteorite theory is that the estimated size of the impacting body would be, considering a 0.5 density, way in the cubic kilometers. Anything that big is bound to leave some trace, and yet, other than the heat-seared tree stumps, there is virtually little. Also, anything that big is bound to do alot of stuff to the atmosphere, which it more or less didn’t, or at least it doesn;t seem it did.

I suppose you could have a really freakish meteorite made of something like depleted uranium, but then again how in the world you come by such a meteorite ?

confucius say, not let mother in law access computer, she might not appreciate daughter porn.

Ahh - just a thought - what if it was a meteorite/comet made of frozen water or whatever. Producing a big boom - fracturing into a zillion shards, and then melting without trace…

Was there a deep crater at the site…?

Apparently not…

Nichola Tesla it was then…

there was a huge crater at the site (it still exists). nothing interesting found, material wise. which is very odd.

if it were frozen water, it could have easily dissipated so as nothing can be found now. problem is, water melts and evaporates due to friction with the atmosphere. even in the best case scenario, of the rock being at absolute zero (-273 celsius), the object at point of entry in the ionosphere was conceivably hundreds of times bigger than at point of impact. which would make it a sphere of maybe a thousdand, maybe ten thoudand miles in diameter. how such an iceball can manage to interact so little with the atmosphere and so much with the actual crust as we seem to have observed is beyond explaining.

further, water at -273 degrees has about 1.3Mjoules/kg less termic energy than water at 0 degrees, in liquid form. that is, the enrgy needed to lift one person almost one mile in the air. Per kilogram. Thus, alot of energy will be needed to be transformed from kinetic to termic just to get the thing at the same temperature as the environment. Which essentially adds to the dramatism of the event, making it approach the thresold of the question “how come the earth didn’t shatter”

Well what do you think that it was?


How about the collapsed dome of an unexploded super volcano? I think it is about the right size and it would not leave any traces like an asteroid.

How about it was a weird honeycomb iceball covered in a shell of something really heat resistant (it’s a big universe - it could happen) thin enough to get the whole mass of ice through the atmosphere before being burned away - and the honeycombing means the ice ball dampens it’s own impact - spreading the blow - causing relatively local damage - but failing to penetrate the crust to any catastophic degree…?

Or am I just talking out of my proverbial again…?

What if it was a ball of almost pure metal. I have read that out in this system’s belt there are great mountains of stainless steel. What if something like that came down and hit as a near liquid and then turned to vapor?

problem with ice in a sheath : what happened to the sheath ?

problem with pure metal : not enough density, not enough caloric capacity (water is 4k, metal is 400ish) and what happened to all the metal ?

you’d be stuckl with essentially a DUP as i said above, and where the heck you get that ?

ed, yes, but there have been no active volcanoes in siberia ever, and theres not even any geological sutures under the site, for k’s of miles around ;/ not to mention the ash and shit.

zenith : i, for once, subscribe to the enigma theory. i have no clue. rare occurence, that.

I’m going to say Nikola Tesla, wasn’t he supposedly testing some sort of mystery device at the same time? Need I say ‘Death ray’. That would be much cooler :wink:

actually he was.

he was undoubtedly quite the genius. first off, guy was off his rocker. second off, bunch of stuff he was making actually works, to the point magnetic fields are measured by the tesla. and let’s not forget… he was fucking raving.

interstingly enough, the us navy+army joint HARP “research” project looks just like his freakin death ray device sketches.

AND at the time, he was working at precisely blasting shit off, except he gave up when a nearby generator exploded from all his mad scientising around, obviously during a stormy night.

all he was missing was a cape i reckon.

(disclaimer : all you read above is actually true)

So my theory that a large amount of natural gas exploded a few feet from the surface goes on with nothing to counter it. really natural gas honey combed through out the land just beneath th perma frost might have been set off from a rock falling a sparking. natural gas is the feared invisable death of miners because, 1 it suffacates you and 2 it explodes violently( pick hits rock= spark= death by fire). The theory that gas did the deed is far more likely than a meteor or a death ray, the only other possiblity is a contunied use of atmoic testing in the area, destroy a spot the move on, the ruskies had to get rid of their nikes some way why not have a little fun?

the natural gas idea is a bit far fetched.

you see, gas doesn’t just explode. a proper combination of gas and air explodes.if for instance gas is over 20% the combination won’t explode. which is why, in spite of the relatively large natural gas reserves worldwide, gas explosions are quite rare outside of human hands. and tunguska had a grand total of 1 person in a couple k square miles around the blast.

also, gas doesn’t exist no matter how deep. there is a limit to how deep gas can go in the subsoil.

now, i hold that if you count the volume of natural gas needed to produce such an explosion and try to place it UNDER the permafrost, but higher than that maximum depth you will end up with a much larger pouch than the crater, the blast area and possibly siberia.

also, trees for hundreds of miles were leveled. by the angle they were leveled, it would seem the explosion took place on the surface rather than in depth.

finally, you need two oxigen molecules for each gas molecule, if you consider full burning, by the equation :
ch4 + 2 o2 = co2 + 2 h2o

since oxigen makes roughly a fifth of air, you would need ten times as much air (mols) as gas. how in the world could you get all this air properly moving around so the gas can actually explode is a real mystery.

I watched an interesting doumentary that examined the pattern of the tree knock down, which was one of the few visible clues left. I can’t remember the details, but the researchers could only replicate the pattern of knock down in a computer simulation by assuming an external object descending at an extremely shallow angle, and vaporizing at quite a height above the blast zone. There was no crater because what ever it was, it never reached the ground. I don’t recall any substantiation, such as trace elements of whatever the object was, but as troubling as that is, the lack of any other explanation for the pattern of the tree fall suggests some form of external object. Eventually, there will be enough exploration to come up with a detailed explanation. The location is still extremely remote, and there really hasn’t been enough detailed study for definitive answers.


The Ruskies nuked their Nikesâ„¢ - boy they must’ve really been going through a hardliner phase…