The Tunguska Incident - An Overview
by: James L. Choron
At 7.00am on 30th June 1908 near the lower Tunguska River, Siberia, a large explosion occurred. The explosion was so massive that it caused damage 400 miles away, and was heard even further. Even the heat that came out from the explosion was felt hundreds of miles away. The blast was so intense that hundreds of square miles of Siberian forest were flattened and burned by a mysterious fireball. Only now, nearly a century decades later, are we learning what really happened… and not a minute too soon a vast fireball raced through the dawn sky over Siberia, then exploded with the force of 1,000 Hiroshima bombs. The heat incinerated herds of reindeer and charred tens of thousands of evergreens across hundreds of square miles. The effect was much like that of a great volcanic eruption, yet there had been no eruption. The only objective indication of the extraordinary event was a quiver on seismographs in the Siberian City of Irkutsk, indicating a moderate quake some 1,000 miles north in a remote region called Tunguska.
For several nights all over northern Europe, the sky glowed enough to light the street of London, and as far away as western Europe people were able to read newspapers at night without a lamp.
At first it was assumed that a massive meteorite had collided with the earth.
In about 1500 BC most of the island of Thera in the Aegean disappeared in a blast. Tidal waves from the explosion swept across 70 miles of sea, rolling over the palaces and temples. There is a theory that in the sudden destruction of Thera and the related Cretan empire may lie the beginnings of the legend of Atlantis.
No similar catastrophe, of this magnitude, affected history until AD 62, when an earthquake caused by the eruption of Vesuvius toppled much of the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum near Naples. The same thing happened 17 years later.
The Vesuvius blast was dwarfed by the destruction of the volcanic island of Krakatoa between Java and Sumatra. On the early afternoon of August 26th 1883, the volcano began to explode, eventually discharging a 17-mile high cloud of dark ash, and at 10 a.m. on the following morning the whole island was shaken by a cataclysmic blast. Ash fountained 50 miles into the sky. The sound was heard 2,200 miles away in Australia. Tidal waves more than 100 feet high killed 36,000 people. The dust so saturated the upper air that it lowered the world temperature 0.5 ëF for many years.
None of these explosions could surpass the sheer force of the Tunguska blast in 1908. Even the Hiroshima blast and the nuclear tests of the early 1950s are dwarfed by it. The estimated energy output of the Siberian blast- 10^23 ergs -would be comparable only with the explosion of the heaviest hydrogen bombs. Also, all of the earlier disasters are completely explainable… There is no mystery in the eruption of a volcano, and there is certainly no mystery in the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The year after the Tunguska blast, in 1909, an expedition was dispatched to the area by Tsar Nicholas II, to investigate the occurrence. This expedition found an area of near complete devastation, in which trees were carbonized where they stood, and the sand near the center of the "blast" area was fused into beads of glass. No cause for the blast could be determined, although the scientists of the expedition theorized the impact of some "celestial" body with the Earth… possibly a small comet or a meteorite.
Given the remoteness of the area it was not until 1927 that another expedition was mounted to investigate the crash area. This expedition could not locate any bits of meteorite, or other "foreign" debris, which puzzled them due the size that the meteorite or other object, would have to have been to create such a large explosion.
Another puzzle, for both of the expeditions, was the way the tress were felled in an outward motion and that in the center, a fairly large area of trees were still standing, although completely carbonized, and all their bark and branches have been destroyed.
These observations, taken together, indicated to those examining the area, that whatever had caused the blast had not, in fact, impacted with the earth, but had, rather, exploded some distance above it. In this way, debris would necessarily be scattered over a wide area, and not readily locatable. It also led those investigating the site to believe that the object had been, contrary to the original theory, rather small in size.
It is interesting to note that of both these expeditions, the scientists and other personnel involved all developed symptoms of a strange illness, which, in time, claimed the life of each participant. In it's early stages, the "sickness" was characterized by "wasting away" and a loss of hair. Onset was fairly sudden, and the illness progressed rapidly, with each person dead within six months of visiting the site. No treatment of the time was effective in either curing, or slowing the advance of the disease.
After the Second World War and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, photos of the cities were compared with aerial photos of the Tunguska blast, and they were stunning similar. This not only included the conditions around the area of detonation, but also the symptoms of radiation poisoning suffered by survivors of the blasts, and those who had worked in contaminated areas. As a result of this, various scientists speculated that a nuclear explosion had taken place over the area, hence explaining the tree formation, and because no nation possessed nuclear device the logical conclusion was that it was from an exploding alien nuclear, or antimatter powered craft.
This theory is supported by the fact that many of the witnesses to the original crash spoke of seeing and oval-shaped mass moving across the sky, as well as seeing the object change course, and of having a very low speed. This description fits, almost hand in glove, with other reports of Unidentified Flying Objects of that time, which were primarily "cigar shaped" or "oval"… such as the Aurora, Texas "Airship" of 1897. Also… since the time of the blast, researchers have found embedded in Tunguska trees tiny particles of matter, which have an extraterrestrial signature.
In 1956, as part of the activities of the "International Geophysical Year," then Soviet Premier Nikita Khruvschev authorized yet another expedition into the Tunguska region. This group, equipped with the most up-to-to date of equipment protective clothing, found, some fifty years after the blast, that the conditions at the epicenter of the blast had changed little, if at all. Extremely high levels of radiation were found in the area, and, once again, no sign whatever of a meteorite, or any other "foreign" object. As was the case with earlier expeditions, every member of this team began exhibiting symptoms of radiation induced illness almost immediately, even though they were in possession of, and used, protective clothing similar in nature to that issued to members of the military assigned to function a radioactive, battlefield environment, and by workers in the core area of a nuclear power plant. Although none of the members died immediately, since the time of the expedition, each member of the team has subsequently passed away from some form of cancer, the most prominent being Leukemia.
The radioactivity in the area seems, according to most experts, to be decreasing, at a slow, but normal rate, and has lessened dramatically since the time of the original blast. Still, unusual levels of radioactivity are present, and apparently will be for some time to come.
In the early 1980's, Soviet Leader Yuri Andropov authorized a similar expedition, equipped with a vastly enlarged array of protective equipment and recording instrumentation which observed similar results as those of the 1956, team. Radiation levels at the site are still over twenty times normal for other parts of the region, and toward the epicenter of the "blast" are over one hundred times that of any naturally occurring phenomenon. It should be noted that radiation levels of this nature, while not immediately fatal, would, in fact, produce the symptoms noted in all of the previous expeditions, and would be, if not immediately treated, fatal. Exposure for lesser periods of time, or in the presence of first-generation protective equipment, such as used by the 1956 expedition, would, according to experts, most probably account for the high incidence of cancer among the returning team members.
At this point, other theories started to be proposed, each becoming more and more far-fetched, ranging from pinpoint black holes, and "free existing" antimatter particles. The point is, no one really knows. Most of today's "scientific community" believe, or profess to believe, that what happened in Tunguska was simply the impact of a meteorite, or perhaps a small comet, whose composition was such that it exploded, well before impact, several thousand feed abode the Siberian forest. Naturally, those who espouse other theories are ridiculed, and their theories called "absurd."
Still, in light of known facts, the alien craft theory still has a much credibility, in that it would explain, at least to some degree, the high levels of radiation which are still present at the site, not to mention the fact that the explosion seems to have been an "air blast" with the exploding object making no physical contact with the earth. Bear in mind that the explosion, whatever it's nature, occurred in 1908, long before even the theory which made controlled nuclear chain reaction, and the atomic bomb possible.
Likewise it happened at such an early point in the Twentieth Century, that one must also raise the question as to whether or not the mostly illiterate Siberian Peasants of this point in time (a group which constituted the majority of witnesses to the "object sightings") would fabricate stories of seeing objects in the sky… something which they almost certainly had never seen before… not even the primitive flying machines of the day, which had been invented only five years before the incident, and certainly had not been introduced into Siberian Russia. The nature of the people of that time, their basic character, and the conditions under which they lived run contrary to the thought that such a story would be simply "dreamed up." The influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, especially the sect known as "Old Believers", which is the predominate religion of the area, is, and always has been, opposed to "frivolous" reading and entertainment, which would generally preclude the notion that these people, event the five (5%) percent, or so, which was at that time literate, would have encountered similar stories, such as existed, through literature. As is the case with the earlier "Aurora Incident," in which an "Airship" allegedly crashed in the small Central Texas town of Aurora, the citizens of this remote region were not prone to "tall tales" unless they were plainly stated to be such, as there would be nothing whatsoever to gain from the activity. The telling of such tales would instantly label them either mad, drunken, or "possessed of the Devil" in the culture of the area, as it existed at that time. Nor would such people be particularly open to repeating such stories to the authorities, especially considering the fact that the questioning authorities were the infamous 'Okrana", the Tsar's Secret Police, an organization which believed in the old Roman axiom that "Pain is the mother of Truth" and whose methods were considered by those who sampled both, to be worse than those of the "Cheka" or it's descendant, the "NKVD."
What actually caused the Tunguska blast. That it happened is beyond question, the scars remain, even today. Was it, as the majority of the "scientific community" would have us believe, the impact of a meteor or a small comet? Was it the explosion and crash of an Unidentified Flying Object? Was it something else entirely? As with most of these cases that occurred long ago, we shall most likely never know for sure.
What is known fro sure is this… Even today, when strange lights dance in the distant Siberian skies, as they often do, the children and grandchildren of those who knew the force of the Tunguska blast look to the skies and cross themselves… mumble a quiet, fervent prayer… and shudder.
James Choron is a featured contributor to this WorldOfTheStrange website.
Contributions include: !Is Ufology Dead?, King Bird Fifty, The Tunguska Incident - An Overview, School Days, In a Class By Herself, Dawn at the Alamo, Three Times A Hero, Lady With the Lamp, The Little Girl in the Garden
Website: http://wintersteel.homestead.com/home.html (dead link)
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