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By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News


The Tunguska incident ...

Posted 9/01/15 (Tue)

Now that we’ve had a little time to think about the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we have to realize there are phenomena in nature far more powerful than either or both of those explosions.

One of them is known as the Tunguska Incident, which is a place in Russia where something really weird happened more than 100 years ago.

On June 30, 1908, an explosion occurred in central Siberia near the Tunguska River that leveled everthing in its path, scorched trees and broke windows several hundred miles away from the impact.

People living the region described a bluish light, as bright as the sun that streaked across the sky, then exploded like artillery fire, knocking people off their feet and deafening them momentarily.

Experts who have analyzed the site have collectively decided this explosion was 1,000 times more powerful than either Hiroshima or Nagasaki, but wasn’t radioactive.

And it was perhaps a blessing that it didn’t happen in or near a populated area, but did nearly wipe out an entire forest in the surrounding region.

There are two theories about what happened. One of them suggests that a flying saucer crashed and exploded. Keep in mind, this is 1908, 39 years before the first UFO was ever reported.

Several Russian experts tend to believe that the sheer power of the explosion had to be something in physics that modern science in 1908 didn’t understand.

Therefore, they believe it was a “spaceship” that may have been spying on Russia that later crashed and exploded.

The other theory is that a meteor or asteroid made impact with the earth when an irristable force and immovable object met in that remote part of Russia.

The meteor theory is obviously easier to believe because meteors are sometimes big enough to hit the earth and cause damage such as an impact crater.

The problem with Tunguska, however, is that there isn’t a crater, no sign of anything like it, only a large circular area of charred trees where the greatest impact is said to have occurred.

Usually when a meteor hits the earth, scientists will go to the site, analyze it and almost always find  rocks or bits and pieces that broke off the meteor.

Not in this case, nothing of the sort was found.

Likewise with the flying saucer theory. Nothing was found to indicate it would have been something not of this world.

In 1947 a UFO allegedly crashed near Roswell, N.M. and the U.S. military was on scene immediately, sealing off the area.

If that is true, there was no explosion in Roswell and people to this day say debris  was picked up from the crash site including six dead aliens that were taken to Area 51 in the Nevada desert.

Again, the meteor theory is more believable, but had a meteor hit the earth, it would have either left an impact crater, like Meteor Crater in Arizona, or it would have caused a catastrophic earthquake or left some kind of debris behind.

But no such issues have been reported. In fact, parts of Europe,  in 1908, had a crude predecessor to the Richter Scale that measures earthquakes but none reported.

So what was this weird phenomenon that many Russians still talk about?

There is actually a third theory that is beginning to develop.

After all the eyewitness accounts, the numerous scientific expeditions to the site, think tank analysis, examination of the scorched trees and dissecting the possibilities of what might have caused the light, a third theory is beginning to emerge.

One-thousand times the strength of the nuclear bomb that hit Hiroshima, exactly two years before the earth passed through the tail of Halley’s Comet, this new theory points to the fact that a piece, a big piece of Halley’s Comet broke off and exploded above the ground.

Remember, when meteors come toward earth, they burn up but don’t explode.

Perhaps this “piece” of Halley’s Comet had a substance in it that became explosive at a certain temperature and when it was burning up in the atmosphere, it exploded in spontaneous combustion.

Whatever it was, it was massive and experts say that had it hit Moscow, it would have wiped the capital out, which was already a big city in 1908.

We’ll probably never know positively what the explosion was or what caused the blue light.

Let’s just chalk it up as the powerful force of nature.