Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space Science

Tunguska Impact Crater Found? 229

Posted by kdawson
from the things-that-go-boom-then-splash dept.
BigBadBus writes in with a claim by an Italian team that they may have found an impact crater resulting from the 1908 Tunguska explosion over Siberia. The BBC story quotes a number of impact experts who doubt the Italians' claim. "A University of Bologna team says a lake near the epicenter of the blast may be occupying a crater hollowed out by a chunk of rock that hit the ground. Lake Cheko — though shallow — fits the proportions of a small, bowl-shaped impact crater, say the Italy-based scientists. Their investigation of the lake bottom's geology reveals a funnel-like shape not seen in neighboring lakes. In addition, a geophysics survey of the lake bed has turned up an unusual feature about 10m down which could either be compacted lake sediments or a buried fragment of space rock."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Tunguska Impact Crater Found?

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:00PM (#19654331)
    Dr. Stanz approves.
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:01PM (#19654335)
    University of Bologna? My crater has a first name, it's T-u-n-g-u-s-k-a...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They said MAMMA MIA!!!!
  • Black oil... Scully... uh, can some do the whole X-Files reference thing for me? (kinda sleepy after a big lunch...)
    • Re:Tunguska (Score:5, Funny)

      by jollyreaper (513215) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:04PM (#19654395)

      Black oil... Scully... uh, can some do the whole X-Files reference thing for me? (kinda sleepy after a big lunch...)
      Don't feel too bad, that was Chris Carter's approach to the entire series.
      • Re:Tunguska (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Himring (646324) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:14PM (#19654545) Homepage Journal
        Exactly. At some point, the plot has to actually work. X Files rocked, but Carter got caught up in the 'revealing for the sake of revealing' treadmill.... His thematic story shows -- meant to connect and be going some where -- never really went anywhere. I think the stand-alone episodes ended up carrying the series....

        Heh, one of my favorite parts is when Skully gives up her baby like she's returning a movie.

        • by geekoid (135745)
          After year 2, it pretty much became a recreation of 'The Night Stalker'. Once I realized that, I enjoyed it much more.
          • by Himring (646324)
            Good point. He even brought back the lead star of that old show in at least one episode (was supposed to be in more but his health was failing; they used his "brother" for those episodes). Kojack I think it was. Can't remember actor's name but was the dad in Christmas Story.

            In 2005, I netflicked the entire series over the whole year. I thoroughly enjoyed it all over again. One of the best series ever. The last year with Duchovny held some of the best stand-alone episodes I felt. The chemistry betw
            • He hated when people got his name wrong. ;-)

              And the actor's name was Darrin Mcgavin. He was also the original "Oscar Goldman" in the pilots for the 6 Million Dollar Man.

              It would be nice to get the original TV movies for that show; I picked up the series for cheap, but I remember the original movies being a lot scarier. Of course I was 8 years old when I saw them....
              • by FauxReal (653820)
                They had a marathon of The Night Stalker on SciFi a few months ago... I had never seen the show before. It was awesome... I only wish they'd just syndicate it on SciFi instead of showing wrestling. I mean seriously, if they're going to show wrestling at least make it sorta SciFi wrestling like showing Kaiju Big Battle [kaiju.com] or something.
              • by farrellj (563) *
                The original Night Stalker series was excellent, the remake was OK...but could have become excellent if it had been continued....:-(

                ttyl
                          Farrell
        • Heh, one of my favorite parts is when Skully gives up her baby like she's returning a movie.

          I totally agree with you on the stand-alones, that was some good spook stuff. I'm usually the opposite with shows, liking arc episodes more. My personal favs: Jose Chung's "From Outer Space" and his appearance on Millennium where he took a swipe at Scientology. My other favorite Millennium ep was the one with the four devils. Shit, that's gotta be on bittorrent these days, I need to get them again.

          • by Himring (646324)
            Oh yea. The Jose Chung episode rocked. I also thought the Burt Reynolds episode was stellar, all the internet crowd disagrees with me. In the director's voice over, Carter reveals his brother is a scientist at MIT I believe, and the whole numbers, life-is-math stuff came from that influence. I always dig theology.
    • The Tunguska explosion happened because George Bush doesn't care about Black Oil.
  • Mmmm.... University of Bologna
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by nospam007 (722110)
      Mmmm.... University of Bologna ...
      As I foreigner who doesn't get the joke, anybody explain this for us dummies? Some commercial we missed?
      --
      From Wiki:
      The University of Bologna (Italian: Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, UNIBO) is the oldest continually operating degree-granting university in the world, and the second largest university in Italy. It is located in the city of Bologna. The University of Bologna was the first university founded in the western world (AD 1088) and since 2000, its m
      • by terrymr (316118) <terrymr@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:51PM (#19655065)
        Wikipedia:

        Bologna sausage is an American version of the Italian mortadella (a finely hashed/ground pork sausage with lard pieces, which originated in the Italian city of Bologna). The American version can alternatively be made out of chicken, turkey, beef, pork, or soybeans. It is commonly called bologna and often pronounced (by hypercorrection) and/or spelled baloney. The "baloney" pronunciation can be used to mean "lies" and/or to express disbelief (see below).
      • by GeckoX (259575)
        This should help:

        Bologna Sausage [wikipedia.org]
      • As I foreigner who doesn't get the joke, anybody explain this for us dummies? Some commercial we missed?
        Well, Homer Simpson was probably thinking of Bologna spaghetti sauce, or maybe Bologna sausage (mortadella Bologna).
      • by rts008 (812749)
        Homer Simpson has this reaction when confronted with ANYTHING that he thinks may be edible-whether it actually is or not.

        Homer: "Hmmm! !"
        On one episode he discovered a jar of petroleum jelly (vaseline) and it turned into:

        Homer:'Hmmm! JELLY! " and he starts eating it, licks clean the now empty jar, and starts looking for more.

        Hope this helps.
  • Google Maps (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:03PM (#19654389) Journal
    Areal view of what was believed to be the original impact site [google.com] and Lake Cheko [google.com].

    I'm no geologist so I can't comment on whether or not this lake looks typical but I will say that, judging by the coloration of the foliage around it, this is probable the same land as the river/stream that winds to the west of it. Interesting is that if you follow it northwest for miles it looks smooth cut. Once it passes Lake Cheko, it seems to become more speckled and pock marked. Doesn't seem 'natural' to me for an inlet and outlet to be positioned so close together on a lake--though the topography could indeed make that make sense if I could see a map of it.

    I would guess this is quite feasible indeed to be part of whatever happened nearly 100 years ago. Check out the last page of this PDF [aero.org] which seems to show the comet/asteroid approaching at an angle (thus the strange blast pattern). At that trajectory, you'd think there'd be a chance for whatever hit to break apart and skip. Maybe the other abnormal marks in the stream are from other pieces/debris?

    Probably fueled by the sci-fi stories written about the same topic (like the 1946 one by Alexander Kazantsev), I find it interesting to read about things like the Tunguska Genetic Anomaly [arxiv.org] whether they be true or not. Maybe these are the scientist's tabloids? :)
  • by pclminion (145572) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:04PM (#19654399)
    If this is in fact the real impact site, shouldn't there be elevated iridium levels in the lake sediments, as is usually found at other impact sites? I guess "prove" is too strong a term, but I'd challenge anyone to find an alternate explanation for elevated iridium, if found.
    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:10PM (#19654483) Homepage Journal

      If this is in fact the real impact site, shouldn't there be elevated iridium levels in the lake sediments, as is usually found at other impact sites? I guess "prove" is too strong a term, but I'd challenge anyone to find an alternate explanation for elevated iridium, if found.

      It's impossible to be scientific based on the material in the article, but a few things jumped out at me. The most telling are that there's no upside-down layer of material around the supposed crater, and then there's the following passage:

      "We have no positive proof this is an impact crater, but we were able to exclude some other hypotheses, and this led us to our conclusion," Professor Longo, the research team leader, told BBC News.

      so wait, there is no positive proof that this is an impact crater, but you concluded that it is? that sounds like bullshit to me.

      But IANAG[eologist] or in any related field, and of course this is just one little article on the beeb which is pretty much known for fucking up the technical details...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ironsides (739422)
        "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." -- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

        They eliminated pretty much everything but an impact crater. Thus, they think it might be an impact crater.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          They eliminated pretty much everything but an impact crater. Thus, they think it might be an impact crater.

          No. They eliminated everything else they could imagine that would explain it, and therefore concluded (in the words of the project lead) that it was an impact crater. Not "think it might be", but "believe that it is".

          If this is not the case, perhaps the project lead should not have said that it was.

          If he's not a native English speaker (I don't know if he is or not, just trying to head off possible r

          • by btgreat (895041) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @04:11PM (#19655341)
            Though he said he didn't have positive evidence, it does sound like they have negative evidence. The way you describe their conclusions makes it seem like there was no other reason for a lake to be there so it must have been a crater. What it sounds like to me is that instead of there being no other theories contradicting his case, they were able to disprove those other theories, and all that was left is impact crater.

            I don't think there was absence of evidence, it was just that the evidence applied to other theories rather than the impact crater. Simple deductive reasoning: A lake was formed. It could have been by methods A, B, or C. We have evidence that it wasn't A or B. Thus it was C.

            Semantics aside, some of the material presented in the article does make the researchers' conclusion seem somewhat dubious. I'm not arguing that the lake was the crater, just that it is possible that the professor is more justified than the article might make him appear at first glance.
          • by Ironsides (739422)
            Lack of contradicting evidence is frequently used to figure out the most likely possibility. A type of Ockham's Razor, if you would. If they can disprove all other more likely possibilities, that would leave them with this.

            It's also possible that, if this came through a translator, the translator used "concluded" instead of "hypothesized" or something similar, and that the scientists think that an impact crater is just the best possible theory for the moment. If they find evidence that doesn't fit or t
          • If he's not a native English speaker (I don't know if he is or not, just trying to head off possible replies) then instead of trying to make himself sound more knowledgeable than he really is by using a word like "concluded", he should stick with words he actually knows.
            Or perhaps the quote was translated from his original language by someone else?
        • Unfortunately (Score:5, Informative)

          by porkchop_d_clown (39923) <mwheinz@m e . c om> on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:57PM (#19655157) Homepage
          The most widely accepted explanation for not finding the crater is that there isn't one: Most geologists believe the Tunguska object exploded in the air. (This sounds crazy, but it's apparently possible - just as a person doing a belly flop off a cliff is going to be killed by the impact, a meteor can be destroyed by the impact with the lower atmosphere.)

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunguska_event [wikipedia.org]
          • by Ironsides (739422)
            Knew about that without even looking at the post. I heard that theory years ago as the most plausible explanation. I was just pointing out a bit of logic to the parent.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by btgreat (895041)
            Even the researchers from the article believe that.. The difference here is that they think a small piece of the airbursted object survived and hit the ground, causing a small crater - the lake. At least, thats what I got out of TFA.
        • "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." -- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

          They eliminated pretty much everything but an impact crater. Thus, they think it might be an impact crater.

          This only works when you can be reasonably confident you have an exhaustive list of the possibilities. That really doesn't sound very likely in this case; it's too easy for it to be something they didn't think of.

          Chris Mattern

      • so wait, there is no positive proof that this is an impact crater, but you concluded that it is? that sounds like bullshit to me.


        Well, they basically say it's not not an impact crater!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kelson (129150) *
      According to the article, they plan on sending another expedition next year and drilling at the lake.
    • Not if it was a comet
  • well (Score:4, Informative)

    by mastershake_phd (1050150) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:05PM (#19654411) Homepage
    After the many expeditions to Tunguska, wouldn't one of them have noticed a crater shaped lake? From what I saw on a documentary about it the first expedition drained and dug in every hole they found in that swamp.
    • by iHasaFlavour (1118257) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:38PM (#19654867) Homepage
      Tunguska is big, really big..

      And extremely remote. It's not even slightly surprising that this was missed.

      The original expidition didn't head to the impact site until years after the event, and still they found a devastated surface, and no-one went back again for a very long time.

      Until fairly recently it just wasn't feasable to do any kind of large scale study of the region. I think people sometimes forget just how barking huge our planet is, you'd be amazed at the number of area's that are still effectivelly blanks on the map, or mapped by air/satellite only.
      • Just for some perspective, it appears this area is on about the 60th parallel. If this were north america, this would be about where Canadian Manitoba/SK end on the north end, and Yukon/Northwest Territories begin. This isn't like a vacation to Vancouver.
  • by wizardforce (1005805) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:08PM (#19654435) Journal
    Now what would we find at this site if it were the tunguska impact crater? since it was likely mostly ice/volatiles mixed with some rocky material would it be fair to say that we wouldnt be finding evidence of shok metamorphosis when the volatiles likely carried off most of the heat? for that matter, would there even be a single crater when the original object shattered as it did? wouldnt it be likely that several small impacts form and over the years erode?
    • What's the basis of your statement that the Tunguska Fireball was "likely mostly ice/volatiles"?

      I'm a computer geek, not an astronomer or geologist, so take this for what it's worth, but I would be really surprised to learn that any meteorite was a mixture of ice and volatiles. First, every astronomy book I've ever read claims that most meteorites are made of nickel, iron and other metals, not ice and other volatiles (that's the composition of comets). Second, falling through the atmosphere g
      • most meteors that hit the ground are indeed composed of refractory materials but very large objects made primarily of ices eg. volatiles can indeed enter the atmosphere and survive quite a trip. what was thought about tunguska was that it was a chunk of a comet or something that was mainly ices and shattered due to atmospheric stresses, and yes this object is thought to be quite large, nearly 100 feet or so.
        • Interesting. I hadn't read that it was thought Tunguska was a chunk of a comet, but I haven't researched Tunguska especially thoroughly.

          Thanks for the enlightenment! :)
  • by Critical Facilities (850111) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:09PM (#19654465) Homepage

    A University of Bologna team says a lake near the epicenter of the blast may be occupying a crater hollowed out by a chunk of rock that hit the ground.


    An official with the University of Horseshit was quoted as saying "That's not a lake, that's partially liquified alien spaceships.". Reached for a response prior to teaching a class at the College of Bullcrap, Professor Dumbass had the following to say, "Well, it could be a meteor, it could be a meatball, who can say really?"
    • Not a troll (Score:5, Informative)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:27PM (#19654727) Homepage Journal

      It's not a troll. It's called humor. And it's entirely ontopic and appropriate as well - the article basically has a bunch of people saying "it might be some shit" but they have no proof whatsoever. They claim to have ruled out several other possibilities which led them to the "conclusion" (how do you come to a conclusion with no evidence?) that it was the Tunguska impact crater. Now let's see, how many problems are there with this?

      1. Tunguska probably wouldn't even have a crater, because it was an airburst. At best, it would have several small ones, which might not even be detectable any more.
      2. The article claims that if there were a crater, it would be shaped differently.
      3. There is no supporting evidence that this was the Tunguska crater.

      Now, if they dig into this lake and figure out what the submerged lump in it is, which might be a rock and might just be a lump of sediment, then this will be more interesting. But this is a completely non-story story. There are no facts here, other than that some people have made an assumption which might or might not be warranted, because they lacked imagination to come up with hypotheses they couldn't shoot down.

      A better title would be "Scientists believe they have located Tunguska Crater without corroborating evidence".

      Parent comment, even if intended to be a joke just about the name of the Uni (I do not believe it is, based on having RTFA, shock amazement) is still entirely apt. Perhaps the bonehead who modded it troll should check out the moderation guidelines?

      • Parent comment, even if intended to be a joke just about the name of the Uni (I do not believe it is, based on having RTFA, shock amazement) is still entirely apt. Perhaps the bonehead who modded it troll should check out the moderation guidelines?

        Actually, I was intending both (and thanks for the defensive argument). I too thought the article was a little light on facts and made some admittedly juvenile cracks about the name of the Uni (gimme a break, it's late in the day and I'm tired). I was definitely not trolling.

      • "the article basically has a bunch of people saying "it might be some shit" but they have no proof whatsoever. They claim to have ruled out several other possibilities which led them to the "conclusion" (how do you come to a conclusion with no evidence?) that it was the Tunguska impact crater."

        You've just described the reasoning used in virtually every UFO show I've seen.
  • Well (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bandman (86149) <bandman@ g m a i l . com> on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:09PM (#19654471) Homepage
    Shocked quartz could solve the matter once and for all.

    Trees standing near the impact site aren't that big of an anomaly, although they do point to an airborne explosion. IIRC some of the witnesses reported that there were standing trees, and modeling of the event (as well as other powerful explosions which occurred at an altitude) have left standing trees, edifaces, and so on, directly below the force of explosion.

    Personally, I'm still hoping for Tesla's Death Ray
  • 55 Fiction (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Carthag (643047)
    In the far reaches of the Siberian tundra, the shaman sits naked. To his left, the head of a freshly slain hare, to his right, a small bundle of herbs. As he calls out in the old language that he is the last to know, the sky lights up like a thousand suns.

    Tunguska remembers.
    • In the far reaches of the Siberian tundra, the shaman sits naked. To his left, the head of a freshly slain hare, to his right, a small bundle of herbs. As he calls out in the old language that he is the last to know, the sky lights up like a thousand suns.

      Tunguska remembers.
      With a story like that, I'd certainly hope it wasn't Pepperidge Farms.
    • by hazem (472289)
      What is that from? I love the imagery... a whole lot said in 4 short sentences.
  • I was wondering where I left that..
  • by Tmack (593755) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:11PM (#19654505) Homepage Journal
    It was a quantum black hole [wikipedia.org] passing through the earth!

    The most they will ever find is a nano sized cave where it traveled through the earth at near-light speed before going about its way after popping out through an ocean on the other side....

    tm

  • I don't think there is a "true" impact crater per se, but more like the possibility that the explosion of the object very low off the ground causing a very strong blast wave that did result in something that looks like a crater. It would be akin to the low-altitude air burst nuclear explosions of over 1 MT during the early 1960's atmospheric tests from nuclear bombs dropped from B-52 bombers.
  • Dangerous (Score:2, Funny)

    by xinjiang77 (1106823)
    Since no man has discovered the blast site until now, how do we know the object is not composed of highly dangerous contaminants/heavy metals that humans have not discovered yet?
  • Oh sure (Score:4, Funny)

    by Grashnak (1003791) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:20PM (#19654631)
    Oh, and I just bet you doubters have a better explanation for a hole in the ground full of water? I thought not.
    • Pffft, obviously it is the flooded entrance to the hollow earth where Hitler and his UFO riding Nazi pals are hiding. Any other questions?
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:22PM (#19654651)
    The easy question is, was there any record of this lake before the explosion?

    Follow up with, are there other lakes that didn't exist before the explosion, but do since?

    • by geekoid (135745)
      assuming it didn't hit a lake that already existed.
    • No. However, it was a poorly surveyed area, so non-existence of (prior) evidence is not evidence of (prior) non-existence.
    • Real easy question huh? It was in 1906. It was in a very remote area (Nobody is believed to have died in the explosion). So, you think the indigenous people, who chalked the explosion up the the fury of their god; had the area which is remote even to them, all mapped out and surveyed in 1906?
  • According to the article on the BBC website, no-one knows if the lake was there before or after the blast.

    Anyway, the theory is a lot more convincing than the theory that a fissure caused a release of gas which exploded, and was mentioned in one of Arthur C.Clarke's "Mysterious World" books.

    • Hmm, maybe they'll find a whale skeleton at the bottom of the lake. So long and thanks for the fish...
  • by cvd6262 (180823) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @03:51PM (#19655051)
    I'm so tired of hearing "researchers" talk about the certainties of their discoveries. This is a breath of fresh air:

    "We have no positive proof this is an impact crater, but we were able to exclude some other hypotheses, and this led us to our conclusion," Professor Longo, the research team leader, told BBC News.
  • From memory, a funnel-shaped profile is what you would expect from a hydrothermal crater (steam explosion) - no impact required. A quick Google indicates that hydrothermal activity occurred throughout the region in the past, so it's plausible. (The articles claims "[they] were able to exclude some other hypotheses", but doesn't state what those hypotheses were.)
  • They found something interesting 10m below the surface eh? I'm assuming they're using the correct abbreviation of 'm' and that's 10 meters.

    So GET IT ALREADY! If it's a pile of dirt you'll know instantly. If it's a lump of kryptonite you'll know instantly.
  • 'Cause checking it out via google maps/earct could be kinda neat :)
  • Let me know when you can repost the same story without the question mark and I'll start caring.

  • You didn't really think that Oscar Mayer invented the word did you?

    Google Earth... If you can't travel, at least browse a bit.

    I admit it's occasionally amusing when you stumble across a foreign word that sounds funny or means something else in your language, but this is ridiculous.

    But, I suppose I should be thankful that it wasn't the University of Phuket (Thailand, and there probably isn't one).

An authority is a person who can tell you more about something than you really care to know.

Working...