(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists put forward dozens of hypotheses about the nature of a large-scale explosion.
In the early morning of June 30, 1908, a fantastic spectacle could be observed over the basin of the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Eastern Siberia. A fireball that suddenly appeared flashed through the sky at lightning speed, followed by a blinding flash and a series of thunderclaps.
One witness claimed that the sky was split in two. The blast wave circled the globe twice. The explosion knocked down 80 million trees and knocked down people 50 kilometers away. All over the world, within a few days after the mysterious explosion, strange phenomena occurred in the taiga.
On the night of June 30 to July 1, more than 150 points in Siberia, Central Asia, the European part of Russia and Western Europe practically did not fall at night: luminescent clouds were clearly observed at an altitude of about 80 km.
The first exploratory expedition to Siberia was undertaken in 1921 by Leonid Alekseevich Kulik, a Soviet specialist in mineralogy and the study of meteorites. On this trip, he collected information about the events that took place in the Tunguska taiga, and, summarizing them, made up ideas about the true area of the disaster.
Although the scientist believed that a comet’s collision with the Earth could be its cause, he stubbornly searched from the beginning to the end of his research for the remains of a giant meteorite, possibly disintegrated into separate blocks.
The expedition found that around the site of the fall of the “Tunguska body” the forest was tumbled down like a fan from the center, and at the epicenter, where the destruction should have been the greatest, the trees stood on the vine, but without branches – like telegraph poles.
The cause of such destruction could only be a super-powerful explosion. It is also surprising that in the middle of the dead forest one could see water – a lake or a swamp. Kulik suggested that this is the funnel from the fallen meteorite.
In 1928, the scientist returned to the taiga with a new large expedition. Topographic surveys of the surroundings and magnetometric studies of the craters were carried out, but no traces of the meteorite were found.
The third expedition, undertaken a year later, was equipped with drilling equipment and pumps to drain the sinkholes. The researchers opened one of them, but, as it turned out, the funnels were not of meteorite, but of thermokarst origin.
The second stage of the study of the Tunguska phenomenon took place in the late 50s and early 60s. The expeditions of K.P. Florensky and V.I. Vernadsky explored a vast logging area. All data indicated that the “Tunguska body” did not reach the earth’s surface, but exploded in the air.
Not finding meteoric matter in the disaster area, this expedition established a completely new phenomenon – an anomalously rapid growth of trees.
This stage of the study of the Tunguska meteorite made it possible to reconstruct the physical map of the Tunguska explosion, but two of the most important problems – the mechanism of destruction and the composition of the meteorite – remained unresolved.
The third phase of the study lasted from 1964 to 1969. During this period, more efficient and accurate methods for extracting cosmic matter from various natural objects were developed, serious theoretical studies and model experiments were carried out.
In 1965, an assumption appeared that the fall of the forest in the area where the meteorite fell was caused not only by an explosive, but also by a ballistic wave. In addition, the researchers have expanded and refined their understanding of the energy of the light flash of the Tunguska explosion and its shock effects.
The Tunguska phenomenon has received many colorful definitions for more than a hundred years since its inception.
About its nature, more than 30 hypotheses have been published in various publications that claim to be scientific, and their total number has long exceeded one hundred. In total, in the scientific community there are, in fact, two main versions: meteorite and comet.
The most authoritative theories of the Tunguska phenomenon agree that a certain large body exploded in the air above Podkamennaya Tunguska, which came to us from space. Only the descriptions of its properties, origin, model (at what angle it entered) differ.
It could be a meteorite or a fragment of an asteroid, and it could consist of ice or stones, but most likely we are still talking about something non-monolithic, porous, otherwise large fragments would have already been discovered.
The comet hypothesis arose back in the 1930s, and even in our time, experts, including NASA, agree that the Tunguska meteorite consisted mainly of ice. This is evidenced by the iridescent stripes that followed this body (according to the descriptions of some eyewitnesses), and the luminous clouds observed a day after the fall.
Scientists from the University of Bologna several times explored Lake Checo, eight kilometers from the alleged epicenter of the explosion.
It is located in a remote uninhabited area and has a rather strange and rounded shape. It was already studied in the 1960s, but then it did not arouse much interest. It is still not known for sure whether Lake Cheko existed before 1908.
Previously, it was believed that Cheko was either of karst origin, or it was an ancient volcanic crater, or the lake was created by the Kimchu River flowing into it.
The Italians, led by Professor Luca Gasperini, analyzed the sedimentary rocks and stated that the age of the lake is approximately one century, that is, it approximately corresponds to the time of the fall of the Tunguska meteorite.
Gasperini claims that the unusual shape of the lake is the result of a large fragment hitting the ground, thrown to the side during the explosion and plowing the soil at an angle, which allowed the fragment to create a funnel-shaped pit.
The work of Italian researchers caused a great resonance, many were skeptical about it, but in essence it does not change anything in the question of the origin of the main mass of the cosmic body.
And Professor Gasperini himself claims that their hypothesis is compatible with almost any previous version: if the object was an asteroid, then the surviving fragment could be buried under the lake. And if it was a comet, then its chemical “signature” should be found in the deepest layers of sediments.
Theories about the nature of the Tunguska phenomenon are conditionally divided into technogenic, geophysical, related to antimatter, religious and synthetic.
Among the most exotic are the following: the collision of the Earth with a mass of antimatter, as a result of which a large amount of nuclear energy was released; the collision of the Earth with a fragment of Encke’s comet; miniature “black hole”; emission of gas-mud mass.
But there is another hypothesis, quite unbelievable – the culprit of the Tunguska catastrophe was allegedly a very specific earthly person, Nikola Tesla.
The outstanding American physicist Nikola Tesla at the beginning of the 20th century was considered the “master of electricity”. Among his many works were experiments related to the technology of wireless transmission of electricity over long distances.
According to this hypothesis, on June 30, 1908, Tesla from his laboratory fired an “energy super shot” into the Alaska region in order to practically test the capabilities of his equipment.
However, the imperfection of technology led to the fact that the energy directed by Tesla went much further and caused huge destruction in the Podkamennaya Tunguska area.
Upon learning of the consequences of the tests, Tesla allegedly chose not to voice his involvement in the incident and stopped such large-scale experiments.
The weak point of this theory is that there is no evidence that Nikola Tesla conducted an experiment on June 30, 1908. Moreover, the laboratory, from which the “supershot” was allegedly fired, did not belong to Tesla at that moment.
Interesting facts about the Tunguska meteorite
- It has been established that there is no noticeable crater at the site of the explosion, which inevitably appears when a cosmic body hits the surface of the planet. This circumstance indicates that the Tunguska cosmic body did not reach the earth’s surface, but collapsed at an altitude of about 5-7 km.
- Most disaster researchers estimate the energy of the explosion at the equivalent of 104 Mt of TNT. Part of this energy turned into a flash of light, and the rest gave rise to baric and seismic phenomena.
- The shock wave destroyed the forest on an area of 2150 km2.
- The energy of the light flash, according to some estimates, reached up to 10% of the energy of the explosion.
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