Tunguska 1908

It’s the 30th June 1908. A huge explosion devastated in a short period of time hundreds of square-kilometres in the Russian region of Tunguska. Millions of trees were bend and burnt down in this Siberian region. For the researchers and people who live there, this so-called Tunguska Event was a mystery of unknown cause.

This coloured photo was taken 21 years after the Tunguska Event. The logs point away from a theoretical shock wave direction (right to left). Image from Wikipedia; Credit: Vokrug Sveta

_What happened? _Well, there are several explanations:

  • A gas explosion. A large amount of methane or other gases ignited and caused this event.Another geophysical explanation: A volcanic-like eruption was mistaken for an explosion and devastated everything around the eruption centreAn asteroid or comet entered the Earth’s atmosphere and exploded on its way to the surface. Similar as the Meteor of Chelyabinsk in the year 2013 that had a diameter of only 20 m

Dash cam footage of the Chelyabinsk meteor in Russia. An explosion, several km above the surface caused a shock wave that destroyed doors, gates and windows. Hundreds of people have been injured, but luckily no one died.

The last option is currently the most accepted theory. One assumes that the diameter of this asteroid was between 30 and 70 metres. It shows that even small celestial objects can have a catastrophic environmental impact on our home planet .
To remind us of cosmic hazards the Asteroid Day was introduced a few years ago. The date: 30th June — The day of the Tunguska Event.

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