In 1908, a mysterious event occurred in a remote area of Siberia that literally rocked the earth. To this date, scientist continue to debate the cause of the incident.
On June 30, 1908 at approximately 7:15AM, a huge explosion occurred in a remote, mosquito infested swamp near the Tunguska River. A local reindeer herding tribe, called the Evenki, described seeing a bright, white light streak across the sky. They claimed the object, with a tail over 800 kilometers long, made no noise as it passed over the forests northwest of Lake Baykai. They heard 5 explosions, the second of which was the most powerful. The Evenki people sealed off the area, believing it was ‘enchanted’, and feared the gods must be angry at them.
The detonation sent seismic shock waves that were recorded all over the world. At impact, a huge pillar of fire rose several thousand feet in the air. The huge fire, visible for hundreds of miles away, instantly produced a hot current of air that scorched forests and burned towns in its wake. Destruction was witnessed as far as 375 miles from the point of impact. Between 3 and 5 shock waves followed, some heard as far as 800 miles away. As dark clouds formed over the area, Russia experienced a strange rain of black debris and soil particles. Dust particles were carried all over the world.
Other parts of the world reported odd atmospheric phenomena for several days after the event. Colorful sunsets and unusual sunrises captivated people Russia, Scandinavia, and Western Europe. Light nights were produced in Eastern Siberia and all throughout Middle Asia. There were reports that the nights remained so bright, you could easily read a newspaper or book with no external light source. There were also magnetic storms, typical of those produced by nuclear explosions. Here in the United States, scientists at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and California’s Mount Wilson Observatory reported a marked decrease in the air’s transparency.
Unfortunately, scientists in Russia were unable to immediately research the occurrence. During a time of political strife, Russians felt other matters were more important that trekking through the swamps of Siberia in search of the culprit. The first expedition to research event did not take place until 13 years later.
In 1921, an expedition led by Leonid Kulik, a member of the Russian Meteorological Institute, bravely fought their way to the site. Facing dangerous, uncharted swamps and ‘walls of mosquitoes’, the team was shocked at the devastation they discovered. For hundreds of miles, trees were flattened around the center of the impact site. At the impact site itself, trees were still standing but were completely stripped of leaves and branches. The team, theorizing that a meteorite caused the devastation, searched endlessly for fragments – none were ever found. Magnetic probes were incorporated into their search but not one trace of metal was ever found.
Theories abound as to exactly what caused the huge explosion. Leonid Kulik himself proposed that a huge meteorite crashed into the area. A colleague of his theorized that since no debris could be found, the force must have been generated by a freak windstorm. Others point to a black hole. Some think anti-matter was involved.
In 1946, A. Kasantsev, a Soviet science fiction writer, published a story in the Jan 1946 issue of Bokrug Sveta. The story told of a nuclear powered alien spacecraft exploding in a fiery crash in the Tunguska area. This triggered other research into the matter. Felix Zigel and Aleksey Zolotov, Soviet scientists, found radioactivity at the site and furthered the theory of a crashed alien spacecraft even though subsequent radioactive surveys proved inconclusive.
Modern Day Research
Modern day researchers believe a meteor or comet was responsible but that it exploded in mid air rather than actually crashing into Earth. They theorize that the diameter must have been around 200 yards. If the object were a meteor, then the elusive debris was either looked over, vaporized upon impact, or possibly ‘skipped’ off the face of the Earth and shot back into space. On the other hand, if the object were an icy comet then the debris simply melted. If an alien spacecraft were responsible then perhaps the debris was recovered.
Scientists still puzzle over some of the strange biological consequences of the event. There has been an accelerated growth of biomass at the epicenter, a growth that continues to this day. Biological mutations have been discovered too, not just at the point of contact, but all along the trajectory of the object over the Tunguska region. Unusual abnormalities in the Evenki tribe have been recorded. Genetic variations in certain species of ants and mutations in local plant life have yet to be explained.
What we do know for sure is that in 1908, something struck the Earth with a force of 40 megatons of TNT, 2000 times the force of the atomic bomb that exploded over Hiroshima. We are extremely fortunate that the event occurred in a remote area of Siberia. Continued investigation of this phenomena is indeed important fore we can be assured that another event of this magnitude will occur in the future…
Tunguska Video Footage
The video below contains rare footage from the 1921 Kulik Tunguska expedition as well as a bit of modern day footage of the Tunguska area after the huge explosion.