June 30, 1908 — A huge mysterious blast rocked eastern Siberia on this day, leaving millions of trees lying on the ground, mostly pointing in the same direction, over an area of many kilometres.
It was a difficult area to reach at the time and it was not until 1927, nearly 20 years later, that the first Soviet research expedition arrived at the scene.
They found millions of fallen trees and evidence that a huge number of reindeer had been killed. The first conclusion was that a meteor had struck, though scientists were baffled by the absence of a crater.
Over the years, a number of theories were put forward to explain what became known as the Tunguska Event – the explosion that occurred around Siberia’s Podkamennaya Tunguska River in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia.
They included claims of an alien spacecraft colliding with Earth, and the sudden appearance of a mini black hole.
Today, scientists believe they know the answer. It is thought that an incoming meteor or comet exploded on contact with our atmosphere, causing what is known as an air burst five to ten kilometers above the Earth’s surface.
It released enough energy to devastate any lifeform in the area – including all those trees.
That’s the theory. But nobody knows for sure.
Published: April 26, 2016