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Space Science

Crater From 1908 Tunguska Blast Found 192

MaineCoasts writes "A team of scientists from the Marine Science Institute in Bologna claims to have found the crater left by the aerial blast of a comet or asteroid in 1908 in the Tunguska region of Siberia. The blast flattened 770 square miles (2,000 square kilometers) of forest, but to date no remains or crater have been found. This has left open the question of what kind of object made the impact. The team believes that, contrary to previous studies, nearby Lake Cheko is only one century old and 'If the body was an asteroid, a surviving fragment may be buried beneath the lake. If it was a comet, its chemical signature should be found in the deepest layers of sediments.' The team's findings are based on a 1999 expedition to Tunguska and appeared in the August issue of the journal Terra Nova."
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Crater From 1908 Tunguska Blast Found

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  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @10:22AM (#21280745)
    I remember reading about this as a kid, probably introduced to it by Carl Sagan in his "Cosmos" series.

    At the time I wondered, after seeing all those flattened trees, how they failed to find the crater. Wouldn't it just be a case of going to several spots, drawing a parallel line to the flattened trees, then looking on a map for the point where the lines intersect? Presumably all the trees fell "away" from the blast area.
  • by FredDC ( 1048502 ) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @10:29AM (#21280825)
    In theory yes, but you have to know that this is a very remote and large area. And they didn't have the technology we have available now.

    Right now we'd simply take some pictures with a satelite, and fly some helicopters to the impact spot. Back then they would've had to mount an expedition on foot. And that was simply not feasible.

    By the time it became possible to reach the impact site relatively easy, nature had already taken its course and finding the impact spot became impossible/very hard.
  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @01:28PM (#21283105)
    Imagine how much extra the bottled water industry could charge for THAT.

    "This water came from ice that sustained a comet 4.6 billion years. Don't you deserve the same? Buy Samethingastheothers Water. It's out of this world!"

  • by hador_nyc ( 903322 ) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @02:01PM (#21283633) Homepage
    Why does the glowing night sky have to be caused by "magnetic fluctuations in the upper atmosphere"? That is a very loose description of the Aurora Borealis. Why couldn't the glowing skies be caused by something much more mundane, repeatable, and something witnessed in modern times; say dust. An areal explosion would put tons of dust in the upper atmosphere which would catch the sun long after the ground was plunged into night. That alone could cause the effect, and is triggered by large volcanic eruptions, areal explosions, etc. A explosion like that, in a heavily wooded area as that was, would cause enormous fires, which would also cause glowing night skies; as shown as recently as the California fires a few weeks ago. Anyone around that survived the great firestorms created by WWII bombing raids would be able to attest to that. The fact that you called it magnetic fluctuations alone proves that you don't even understand what they are. Harsh, yes, but honestly, you can't magnetize air. You can ionize it, but the effects of ionization in the atmosphere are short-lived outside of an external stimulus; ie the fluctuating solar wind causing the ever changing Aurora Borealis being a correct and real example of what you are talking about.

    Even then, "apparently well known phenomenon," come on man. Are you serious? Yes, we light reflecting off of soot or dust is a well documented, but unfortunately mundane, effect.

    Well, thanks for giving me the chance to rant, which I seriously hope was in response to a bit of trolling on your part. I'm having a rough day, and this was a great release.

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle