The Tunguska Event

9 views
Skip to first unread message

Dave Mueller

unread,
Nov 1, 1990, 10:33:47 AM11/1/90
to
Has anybody heard of this?? The Tunguska Event ... It's an 'event' that
happened in the early 1900's.. 1906 or so. Supposedly there was a BIG
explosion in Siberia. People think it was a meteorite impact. I'd like some
information on this event.

Does anyone have any info, or know of some good sources?


Tanx much!


Dave Mueller

Bill W. Gripp

unread,
Nov 2, 1990, 2:18:15 PM11/2/90
to

Actually, Tunguska was the first recorded crop circle. The aliens have
since refined their technique.

But seriously, there was just an extended discussion of this in
sci.skeptic. You should check out all the traffic there for more info.

fax...@uoft02.utoledo.edu

unread,
Nov 3, 1990, 12:42:02 AM11/3/90
to

Any introductory astronomy book usually has a mention of this on the
chapter on comets/meteors. Some years ago (20-30?) I saw a book
wherein they discussed simulations of the event. This included making
a replica of the landscape with little metal bars for trees and then
detonating an explosive some height above the ground to simulate the
flattening pattern observed in the trees. It worked quite well.
Sorry, I do not remember the book.

Robert Dempsey
Ritter Observatory

A Soldier Of God

unread,
Nov 2, 1990, 11:48:40 AM11/2/90
to
In article <90305.0933...@NDSUVM1.BITNET> BJ02...@NDSUVM1.BITNET (Dave Mueller) writes:

To the best of my knowledge, the current theory is a comet, type object was
responsible, mainly ice and other solidified gases. But then I am not the best
asteroid expert.

_______________________________________________________________________________
|L.T.N.A.T. (Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself) S..G.L.Y.&S.D.I. (Smile.....) |
| "He died for me. I'll live for him" (D&K)|
|SSSS CCCC H H L EEEE TTT ZZZZ mel...@wpi.wpi.edu |
|S C H H L E T Z The Domino's Dude |
|SSSS C HHHH L EEE T Z "I won't go underground/I won't turn and |
| S C H H L E T Z flee/I won't bow the knee" PETRA |
|SSSS CCCC H H LLLL EEEE T ZZZZ (508) 792-3745 Dominos: 791-7760 |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Clayton Cramer

unread,
Nov 2, 1990, 2:57:40 PM11/2/90
to
In article <90305.0933...@NDSUVM1.BITNET>, BJ02...@NDSUVM1.BITNET (Dave Mueller) writes:

> Dave Mueller

The year was 1908. I've never seen a book about just the Tunguska
Event, but most books on meteorology (that's not right -- what DO
you call the science of meteors?) give at least a chapter to it.

Of course, there's plenty of materials explaining how it was a
spaceship explosion also. :-)

--
Clayton E. Cramer {pyramid,pixar,tekbspa}!optilink!cramer
Alcohol prohibition didn't work; drug prohibition doesn't work; gun
prohibition won't work.
You must be kidding! No company would hold opinions like mine!

Owen M. Hartnett

unread,
Nov 2, 1990, 8:28:15 PM11/2/90
to
There was a book in the 60's called "Stranger than Science" by Frank
Edwards which had a pretty good description of the event. Although it was
of the "could this have been an alien spaceship" approach, it was
entertaining reading and also mentioned that the effects of the event
(whatever it was) closely paralleled the effects of a nuclear bomb.

This was another place mentioned in the book, which exists in a desert
in California somewhere, where it describes a kind of gravity vortex.
Objects seem to be inexplicably drawn into the center of the area. It
seems that there is a weight hanging down from the ceiling of a building
at the vortex which is noticably deviant from the vertical.

Has anyone else heard of this vortex (please, no jokes about Berkeley)?
I seem to recall having read of it in another source as well.

Not that I believe in this stuff, but if there is such a place where
such phenomena are said to exist, it would be interesting to visit.

-Owen

Owen Hartnett o...@cs.brown.edu.CSNET
Brown University Computer Science o...@cs.brown.edu
uunet!brunix!omh
"Don't wait up for me tonight because I won't be home for a month."

Jeff Roberts

unread,
Nov 2, 1990, 11:40:10 PM11/2/90
to

There has been some discussion about this in sci.skeptic lately.

Jeff

Jonathan Leech

unread,
Nov 3, 1990, 10:30:04 AM11/3/90
to
In article <48...@optilink.UUCP>, cra...@optilink.UUCP (Clayton Cramer) writes:
|>The year was 1908. I've never seen a book about just the Tunguska
|>Event, but most books on meteorology (that's not right -- what DO
|>you call the science of meteors?)

Astrogeology. The USGS has a branch of same.

Dieter Kreuer

unread,
Nov 5, 1990, 8:33:22 AM11/5/90
to
In article <55...@brunix.UUCP>, o...@cs.brown.edu (Owen M. Hartnett) writes:

> This was another place mentioned in the book, which exists in a desert
> in California somewhere, where it describes a kind of gravity vortex.
> Objects seem to be inexplicably drawn into the center of the area. It
> seems that there is a weight hanging down from the ceiling of a building
> at the vortex which is noticably deviant from the vertical.

I've seen a similar thing on TV about a place in Italy, where things
like empty bottles seem to roll up a hill. This was proven by the camera
team: They showed the road which was obviously tilted and a let a bottle
roll upwards. After a little reflection, I came to the conclusion that
they must have put up their camera on a tripod with one short leg. There
can't be anything rolling upwards, because the downward direction is
defined by the local gravity gradient (that's why masons use a sounding
lead). Thus, if in the building you mention, weights don't hang vertically
down with respect to the walls/floor/ceiling, it must be some kind of
Leaning Tower of Pisa :-)

_____________________________________________________________________________
Dieter Kreuer, Lehrstuhl Informatik IV | 'I'm not one to go pointing my
RWTH-Aachen, D-W5100 Aachen, Germany | finger when I radiate more
Internet: die...@informatik.rwth-aachen.de | heat than light'
UUCP: die...@rwthinf.uucp | Rush - Presto

to...@hpldsla.sid.hp.com

unread,
Nov 5, 1990, 2:43:52 PM11/5/90
to
In message-ID: <55...@brunix.UUCP> o...@cs.brown.edu (Owen M. Hartnett)
writes:

>This was another place mentioned in the book, which exists in a desert
>in California somewhere, where it describes a kind of gravity vortex.
>Objects seem to be inexplicably drawn into the center of the area. It
>seems that there is a weight hanging down from the ceiling of a building
>at the vortex which is noticably deviant from the vertical.

If there are no additional net forces acting on the weight besides gravity
and translational accelerations, it's direction of hanging *defines* the
vertical. "Vertical" can only be defined locally.

A pilot friend of mine has a backup to his attitude indicator when he flies
on instruments. He removes his wristwatch, suspends it by the band from his
thumb, and it points to local down. That instrument cannot of course, tell
the difference between straight-and-level flight and a coordinated turn,
but it is a big help in aligning the *vertical* axis of the aircraft, and
the local vertical direction.

Tony Arnerich

Phil Clark

unread,
Nov 5, 1990, 4:30:38 PM11/5/90
to
In article <90305.0933...@NDSUVM1.BITNET>, BJ02...@NDSUVM1.BITNET (Dave Mueller) writes:

There is one book that seems to be quite a good description of this event and
subsequent investigations of it.

I found it to be quite fascinating.

The book is called "The Fire Came By."

I cant remember the author, but I think it was published in England.

Email me if you would like me to look it up.
Phil Clark Department of Computer Science, Phone:
(VK1PC) Australian Defence Force Academy, +61 6 268 8157
Email: Northcott Drive, Campbell, Fax:
p...@csadfa.cs.adfa.oz.au Canberra, Australia, 2600. +61 6 268 8581

Bob Campbell

unread,
Nov 5, 1990, 9:49:26 PM11/5/90
to
> This was another place mentioned in the book, which exists in a desert
> in California somewhere, where it describes a kind of gravity vortex.
> Objects seem to be inexplicably drawn into the center of the area. It
> seems that there is a weight hanging down from the ceiling of a building
> at the vortex which is noticably deviant from the vertical.

Well, it isn't in the desert, but if you venture up into the Santa Cruz
mountains (oddly enough, just south of Santa Cruz :-) you will find a
cozy little tourist trap known as The Mystery Spot. While it can
be ammusing if you don't have a better use for the small visitors fee,
it has nothing to do with a "gravity vortext". It does have something
to do with how people react when standing on a hill, however.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bob Campbell Some times I wish that I could stop you from
camp...@hpda.cup.hp.com talking, when I hear the silly things you say.
Hewlett Packard - Elvis Costello

Richard Akerman

unread,
Nov 6, 1990, 1:11:59 PM11/6/90
to
"The most energetic, historically well-documented encounter with the earth of
an earth-crossing body produced a great meteoritic fireball over the
Podkamennaya-Tunguska River region of Siberia on the morning of June 30, 1908
(Krinov 1966). Travelling from southeast to northwest, the meteor passed
nearly over the town of Kirensk; the endpoint of the trajectory was about 60km
northwest of the remote trading post of Vanovara, over a very sparsely
inhabited area of the Siberian tiaga. The meteor was observed from distances
as great as 600-1000 km from the endpoint; the atmospheric shock was audible
at still greater distances. Trees were knocked down at distances up to 40 km
from the endpoint, and circumstantial evidence suggests that dry timber was
ignited by thermal radiation from the fireball at distances up to 15 km from
the endpoint. Intensive investigation by expeditions from the Soviet
Academy of Sciences carried out over many decades has shown that the Tunguska
bolide disintegrated in the atmosphere; it deposited most of its energy at an
estimated altitude of ~8.5 km (Ben-Menahem 1975). Only microscopic spheres of
glass and magnetite, formed by ablation, reached the ground (Florensky 1963)."
(Shoemaker, 1983)

The force of the blast is estimate to be about 12 megatons TNT. This would
come from an asteroid or comet of about 100m in diameter (much smaller than
we can easily detect). Such an event occurs every 150 - 600 years
(300 */ 2 years).

The science of meteor studies is meteoritics.

_Short Reference_

Shoemaker, E. M. Asteroid and comet bombardment of the earth.
_Ann. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci._ 11, 461-494.

Richard Akerman, late for class...

Frank Hill

unread,
Nov 7, 1990, 11:39:43 AM11/7/90
to


For you Tunguska fans, there is an extensive analysis of the event
in the following article:

"The Tunguska Event: No Cometary Signature in Evidence"

by Z. Sekanina, Astronomical Journal, Vol. 88, p. 1382 (1983)

erratum: Vol. 89, p. 185.

The author concludes that the object was more likely to have been
an asteroid rather than a comet.

Robert Wier

unread,
Nov 7, 1990, 11:45:21 PM11/7/90
to

I dimly recall a book about 10 - 15 years ago called "The Fire
Came By" which was about the siberia event. However, it's so
dim in my memory that I may be wrong. Might be worthwhile to
look up in the library, though.

-bw

- Bob Wier

-------------- insert favorite standard disclaimers here ----------
College of Engineering
Northern Arizona University / Flagstaff, Arizona
Internet: r...@naucse.cse.nau.edu | BITNET: WIER@NAUVAX | WB5KXH
or uucp: ...arizona!naucse!rrw

Jim Scotti x2717

unread,
Nov 7, 1990, 11:53:47 PM11/7/90
to
In article <9...@qusuna.queensu.CA> ake...@qucis.queensu.CA (Richard Akerman) writes:
>The force of the blast is estimate to be about 12 megatons TNT. This would
>come from an asteroid or comet of about 100m in diameter (much smaller than
>we can easily detect). Such an event occurs every 150 - 600 years
>(300 */ 2 years).
>
>Richard Akerman, late for class...
>

On 1990 October 22, while observing with the Spacewatch Telescope (36 inch),
using a new automated asteroid detection system and a 2048x2048 pixel Tetronix
CCD, we detected what is now recognized as the smallest natural object ever
observed outside of the earth's atmosphere. The object is an asteroid
estimated as being between 50 and 100 meters in diameter, and was given the
provisional designation of 1990 UN. At the time of discovery, it was about
0.1 AU from earth, moving about 1.3 degrees per day and was magnitude V=20.0.
Since discovery, it has moved closer to the earth, with its closest approach
being on November 7.2 when it is 0.042 AU from earth. The estimated absolute
magnitude is H=23.7. The object is an Apollo type asteroid with semimajor
axis of 1.71 AU, eccentricity of 0.53, and an inclination of 3.68 degrees. It
is currently moving deep into the evening sky and its phase angle is about
100 degrees, making it appear extremely faint. Our last chance to observe
this object should be November 9 or November 10 UT, however, we hope that
radar observations using the Aricebo dish may be made this weekend.

With only a 3 week arc, the object will be extremely difficult to recover
the next time it is bright enough to be detected. In order to be bright
enough, it must be within about 0.1 AU of earth, so the chances of that
happening are rather small. With the addition of radar data, the orbit
calculations are greatly enhanced, and perhaps in 10 or 20 years, we may
be able to search for and find this object again.

The next brightest asteroid was nearly 2 magnitudes brighter, intrinsically,
so this object is a whole new, previously unobserved sized object. The
Spacewatch asteroid survey is intended to detect earth approaching asteroids
and has just started full-time observation beginning with the 1990 September
observing run. We have detected 5 new earth approaching asteroids in the two
months in which we have been surveying. Our survey limit is about
magnitude V=20.5 with an integration time of about 170 seconds.

Jim Scotti.

John Tender

unread,
Nov 11, 1990, 11:52:31 PM11/11/90
to

DM> Has anybody heard of this?? The Tunguska Event ... It's an
DM> 'event' that happened in the early 1900's.. 1906 or so.

It occurred on June 30, 1908. The accepted explanation for the
event is the air burst of a comet about 5 miles above the surface of the
earth. Seisemic activity and effects of the atmospheric dust were
evident in Britain and Europe. Unfortunately, due to the inaccessability
of the Tunguka area and the political situation in Russia, no scientific
expedition was dispatched until 1921.

Here's some sources of info:

Baxter, John and Thomas Atkins, (1976). The Fire Came By. Macdonald's and
Jane's (London).

Brown, John C. and David W. Hughes, (1977). "Tunguska's Comet and
Non-thermal C12 Production in the Atmosphere", Nature, Vol. 268, pp.
512-14.

Corliss, William R. , (1983). Handbook of Unusual Natural Phenomena.
Arlington House, Inc. (New York). (0-517-60523-6)

Crannel, (1975). "Experiments to Measure the Anti-matter Content of the
Tunguska Meteorite", Nature, Vol. 248, pp. 396-8.

Furneaux, Rupert, (1977). The Tungus Event. Panther.

Jackson, and M.P. Ryan, (1973). "Was the Tungus Event Due to a Black
Hole? ", Nature, Vol. 245, pp. 88-9.

Ridpath, Ian, (1977). "Tunguska - The Final Answer", New Scientist, Vol.
1977, Iss. Aug. 11, pp. 346-7.

Sagan, Carl, (1980). Cosmos. Random House (New York). (0-345-33135-4)

Stonely, Jack, (1977). Tunguska - Cauldron of Hell. Star Books (London).

Taylor, John G. , (1977). Black Holes - The End of the Universe? . Random
House (New York).

***
Welfare, Simon and John Fairley, (1980). Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious
World. A & W Publishers, Inc. (New York). (0-84979-075-7)

Wick and J.D. Isaacs, (1974). "Tunguska Event Revisited", Nature, Vol.
247, pp. 139.


The best description of the event and the observed effects I've
come accross can be found in "Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World". The
book is based on a BBC series that the Discovery Channel is currently
rebroadcasting, although I'm not sure whether the Tunguska episode has
been already been shown.

Clarke suggests that the comet may have been associated with the
Beta Taurid meteor shower, which occurs each June 30.


--- Via Silver Xpress V2.28
--
John Tender - via FidoNet node 1:129/104
UUCP: ...!pitt!nss!John.Tender
INTERNET: John....@nss.FIDONET.ORG

John Tender

unread,
Nov 11, 1990, 11:55:34 PM11/11/90
to

OM> There was a book in the 60's called "Stranger than Science" by
OM> Frank Edwards which had a pretty good description of the event.

Edwards presents two errors in his version. First, (and this might
be because he wrote the book before simulations were performed) he
states that the air burst occurred 1 mile above the surface, whereas the
current guess is more like 5 miles; secondly, and more seriously, he
states that a higher lever of radiation was measured in the area
affected by the explosion; this is simply not the case. The "higher
radiation" is the main support for the "atomic powered spaceship"
theory.

OM> Although it was of the "could this have been an alien
OM> spaceship" approach, it was entertaining reading and also
OM> mentioned that the effects of the event (whatever it was)
OM> closely paralleled the effects of a nuclear bomb.

In as much as the effects were those of an air-burst, yes. Another
effect picked up by the atomic explosion group (which included a few
scientists at the Soviet Academy) was an increase in tree growth rates
following the event, which was also noticed after nuclear explosions.
However, the accelerated tree growth can also attributed to fewer trees
competing for resources rather than any radioactivity effect.

OM> This was another place mentioned in the book, which exists in a
OM> desert in California somewhere, where it describes a kind of
OM> gravity vortex. Objects seem to be inexplicably drawn into the

The "Oregon Vortex" has pretty well been debunked. It's caused by
an area that has fallen into a sink-hole; the ground, trees and building
have all tilted, and once you're inside the illusion is pretty
convincing.

OM> Not that I believe in this stuff, but if there is such a place
OM> where such phenomena are said to exist, it would be interesting
OM> to visit.

Illusion or not, I'd like to go there too. Same for Tunguska.
Hmm...maybe an amusement park. TUNGUSKALAND!

Clayton Cramer

unread,
Nov 14, 1990, 4:44:02 PM11/14/90
to
In article <114.27...@nss.FIDONET.ORG>, John....@nss.FIDONET.ORG (John Tender) writes:
# OM# This was another place mentioned in the book, which exists in a
# OM# desert in California somewhere, where it describes a kind of
# OM# gravity vortex. Objects seem to be inexplicably drawn into the
#
# The "Oregon Vortex" has pretty well been debunked. It's caused by
# an area that has fallen into a sink-hole; the ground, trees and building
# have all tilted, and once you're inside the illusion is pretty
# convincing.

I visited the Oregon Vortex about 1971, when I was 14. My parents
were pretty convinced, and I must admit, it is a powerful illusion.
(I was sure it was a hoax of some sort, but that was just because of
my overpowering faith in the True Religion of Science). It's worth
seeing just for its ability to make you mistrust your senses.

# John Tender - via FidoNet node 1:129/104


--
Clayton E. Cramer {pyramid,pixar,tekbspa}!optilink!cramer

"Meat is murder!" "Dairy is rape!" -- Animal Liberation Front
Fine, then antibiotics are genocide!

John A. Weeks III

unread,
Nov 18, 1990, 12:49:48 PM11/18/90
to
In article <48...@optilink.UUCP> cra...@optilink.UUCP (Clayton Cramer) writes:
> I visited the Oregon Vortex about 1971, when I was 14.

Could you let us know exactly where this is? (City, county, or road names)

-john-

--
===============================================================================
John A. Weeks III (612) 942-6969 jo...@newave.mn.org
NeWave Communications ...uunet!rosevax!bungia!wd0gol!newave!john
===============================================================================

Clayton Cramer

unread,
Nov 20, 1990, 4:12:06 PM11/20/90
to
In article <5...@newave.UUCP>, jo...@newave.UUCP (John A. Weeks III) writes:
> In article <48...@optilink.UUCP> cra...@optilink.UUCP (Clayton Cramer) writes:
> > I visited the Oregon Vortex about 1971, when I was 14.
>
> Could you let us know exactly where this is? (City, county, or road names)
>

I believe that it was near Medford, on or near US 101. It was advertised
in all directions for many, many miles.

Bob Campbell

unread,
Nov 21, 1990, 6:20:42 PM11/21/90
to
Well, it sound like the Oregon Vortex is identically to the "Mystery
Spot" in the Santa Cruz mountains. (Make a day of it and see the
Mysery Spot followed by a hike to the Loma Prieta epicenter zone).

The trick to the parallel boards took a minute to figure out, but is
reasonably simple. The boards can be assumed innocent, they probably
are straight and level. When a person is on a hill, he/she has a
natural tendancy to lean into it. When two people are facing each
other, the person leaning back sees over the person leaning forward.

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages