On June 30, 1908 "something" caused a huge explosion above the remote Russian forests of Tunguska, Siberia.
The blast was extremely powerful. It had the explosive force of a 15-megaton nuclear weapon, shattering windows hundreds of miles away and lighting up the skies of
the Northern hemisphere for days afterwards. With 1,000 times more power than the Hiroshima bomb, the exploding object flattened trees over an area roughly the
size of Tokyo.
Trees felled by the Tunguska explosion. Credit: the Leonid Kulik Expedition.
Since there were very few
witnesses, no fragments and no impact crater, the identity of the object remains a mystery until this day. However, according to the most accepted
theory an asteroid or comet exploded as it entered Earth's atmosphere.
Today, more than 100 years later, a paper from the
Russian Academy of Sciences suggests that the first physical remains of the blast have been found.
Dr. Andrei E. Zlobin, of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Vernadsky State Geological Museum, says he has discovered the fist fragments of the object that
exploded over Tunguska.
Dr. Zlobin explains that he found more than 100 stones that looked like potential meteorites at the bottom of Khushmo River's shoal
during 1988 expedition into the region of the Tunguska impact (1908).
Dr. Zlobin thinks these three rocks could be meteorites from the Tunguska explosion. Their nicknames are dental crown (1), whale (2) and boat (3).
This image shows researcher Andrei E. Zlobin during a 1988 expedition to the site of the
Tunguska impact. Here, he is digging into peat-bog layers to look for evidence of the explosion.
According to Dr. Zlobin there are "visible traces of melting on the surface of all stones."
The stones are also marked with regmaglypts - depressions and patterning on the rock's surface caused by them being bathed in explosively hot gases.
Dr. Zlobin's calculations indicate that the Tunguska explosion would not have generated enough heat on the ground to melt rocks already on Earth.
He personally believes that these fragments were cooked inside the Tunguska fireball high above the planet.
Dr. Zolbin's research was detailed Monday (April 29) on the website arXiv.org.
It has surprised many that
Dr. Zlobin waited all those years before he finally revealed his discovery, but as the Physics arXiv Blog points out, the findings still need
to be confirmed through a chemical analysis and a rigorous, internationally collaborative investigation.
"It's not hard to imagine that the political changes that engulfed the Soviet Union in the year after his
expedition may have played a role in this, but it still requires some explaining," the May 2 blog post reads.
Further testing of the rocks will need to be done to confirm they came from outer-space.
If Dr. Zolbin's rocks can be confirmed as meteorites, the rocks could help scientists finally picture the object behind the historic Tunguska explosion.
Dr. Zolbin says he thinks the object that caused the blast was a comet with a density similar to that of Halley's Comet.
Advanced Extraterrestrial Civilizations -
Their Technology And Capabilities
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, "Arthur C. Clarke once wrote a long time ago.
In this Xenology article we take a look at who could be out there and what kind of advanced technology they could posses.
"Soon, humanity may face an existential shock as the current list of a dozen Jupiter-sized extra-solar planets swells to hundreds of earth-sized planets,
almost identical twins of our celestial homeland.
Unusual Organisms Living On Pandora -
A Fictional Alien World That Could Be Real
What kind of unusual organisms could exists on a world like Pandora? What could we expect to find there?
As we are about to find out the line between science fiction and science fact is thin indeed.
Pandora is the idyllic blue world featured in the movie Avatar. Its location is a real place,
Alpha Centauri, the nearest star to our Sun and the most likely destination for our first journey beyond the solar system.
Alien Species Living In The Inner Milky Way Could Be In Danger
Few people doubt there is intelligent alien life in the Milky Way galaxy, but where can we expect to find it?
Astronomers think that while the inner sector of the MIlky Way Galaxy may be the most likely to support habitable worlds.
Unfortunately some of these places are also most dangerous to all life-forms.