Saturday, June 30, 2007

Unimaginable Devastation

Possibly the most powerful, natural explosion in recorded history occurred on this day in 1908 at 7:17 a.m. The site was the Tunguska section of Central Siberia.

The spectacular explosion devastated a forested area, some 70 miles in diameter, caused seismic shock, a firestorm followed by black rain and an illumination that, it is said, could be seen for hundreds of miles. Yet, no crater was formed, and only the tops of the trees were burned at the central point of the explosion. It is said that the impact threw down horses that had been standing in a field 400 miles away and moved the tracks of the Trans-Siberian Railway, as if in an earthquake. It flash-burned people 40 miles away, melted their silverware and destroyed herds of reindeer. In the photo above we see a portion of one of the photos from Kulik's aerial photographic survey (1938) of the Tunguska region. The parallel fallen trees indicate the direction of the blast wave.

Even now, no one knows what caused the explosion ... an extraterrestrial visitor? A comet? A meteor? A black hole? An atomic explosion?

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