A Conversation for The Tunguska Incident


Post 1


Is it not scientifically known that a meteorite of a certain size will heat up considerably in the few milliseconds it takes to travel through the atmosphere, until it explodes a few hunderd meters above the ground? It is interesting to note that the atomic weapons used in the war were also detonated a few hundred meters above the ground...


Post 2

furtim - Zaphodista Sympathiser

Actually, any kind of solid meteor would be relatively unlikely to explode in the atmosphere: it would either burn up or crash into the ground, not explode.

On the other hand, a comet is very likely to airburst, given its composition. Being made primarily of ice and being subjected to high temperatures makes interesting things happen, particularly if there were any kind of gas stored within, which most comets have (as evidenced by their coma).

The comet theory was proposed on an episode of Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World (or something along those lines... it's been a while since I've seen it). That may not be the originating source, but that's the first place I've heard it. I find the comet theory to be relatively sound, moreso than the theories of alien spacecraft, exploding meteors, or nasty electric death rays (go, Tesla!).


Post 3


I'd just like to mention that there wasw a documentary on this on (U.K.) Channel 4 a couple of years ago... a Physics professor with a BIG budget did some experiments with a piece of string, a small pulley, some explosives and a model of the tunguska terrain with trees made out of matchsticks managed to recreate the precise blast pattern, using an explosive charge modelled on something the size of a small comet... if I remember correctly it would have been much more difficult to do with a nuclear warhead because the blast pattern would be different. Also, I haven't heard that any unusual materials were found in the area, so a comet made of ice would be the only reasonable explanation...

Unless you're a fan of the X-Files.


Post 4

furtim - Zaphodista Sympathiser

The Truth is Out There.


Post 5


Did someone mention the X Files?!smiley - martiansmile

smiley - ufoKeeper of


Post 6


some new theory has just been released by a group of Italian researchers working at the site. the link is bbc so hopefully it won't be moderated (plz)
neway it basically says that the object that hit was probly a low density asteroid, so that it burned up in the atmosphere and only the shockwave reached the ground (apparently the explosion was the equivalent of 10-15 million tonnes of TNT smiley - bruised )


Post 7

Peter aka Krans

Yes, that's the theory I heard about - Arthur C. Clarke discusses it near the beginning of "The Hammer of God"... good reading, actually, I recommend it.


Post 8


Actually there was a much earlier "comet" explanation than Arthur C Clarke's World Of Strange Thingies. As usual, this program simply dug-around for something controversial, then reported it as its own findings without crediting the source.

Professor Kolsenikov of Moscow University originally suggested it in the 1930's when the reports of the Kulik Expedition of 1927 came in. The primary reason for suggesting it was the mid-air explosion, and the absence of any crater for the "meteorite" which Kulik had favoured.


Dr W.


Post 9

Peter aka Krans

Lets face it - since nukes had not been invented yet (or the Russioan would have used them in WW2), the only place the source of the explosion could have come from was space. And I personally disbelieve the alien theory... smiley - erm

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