Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tunguska, We Remember You

Today marks the anniversary: On June 30, 1905, Einstein's special theory of relativity was published, which led to his subsequent postulation that E=mc2.

Three year later to the day, June 30, 2008, a massive explosion--nearly 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima--occurred near the Tunguska River in Siberia.

According to an eyewitness:

"We had a hut by the river with my brother Chekaren. We were sleeping. Suddenly we both woke up at the same time. Somebody shoved us. We heard whistling and felt strong wind. Chekaren said, 'Can you hear all those birds flying overhead?' We were both in the hut, couldn't see what was going on outside. Suddenly, I got shoved again, this time so hard I fell into the fire. I got scared. Chekaren got scared too. We started crying out for father, mother, brother, but no one answered. There was noise beyond the hut, we could hear trees falling down. Chekaren and I got out of our sleeping bags and wanted to run out, but then the thunder struck. This was the first thunder. The Earth began to move and rock, wind hit our hut and knocked it over. My body was pushed down by sticks, but my head was in the clear. Then I saw a wonder: trees were falling, the branches were on fire, it became mighty bright, how can I say this, as if there was a second sun, my eyes were hurting, I even closed them. It was like what the Russians call lightning. And immediately there was a loud thunderclap. This was the second thunder. The morning was sunny, there were no clouds, our Sun was shining brightly as usual, and suddenly there came a second one!

"Chekaren and I had some difficulty getting out from under the remains of our hut. Then we saw that above, but in a different place, there was another flash, and loud thunder came. This was the third thunder strike. Wind came again, knocked us off our feet, struck against the fallen trees.

"We looked at the fallen trees, watched the tree tops get snapped off, watched the fires. Suddenly Chekaren yelled 'Look up' and pointed with his hand. I looked there and saw another flash, and it made another thunder. But the noise was less than before. This was the fourth strike, like normal thunder.

"Now I remember well there was also one more thunder strike, but it was small, and somewhere far away, where the Sun goes to sleep."

The prevailing theory is that it was a meteor (or comet) impact.

An alternative theory claims that at the exact moment of the explosion, Tesla tested a communication device, a device that led to the creation of Tesla's infamous death ray:

"At the time, Robert Peary was making his second attempt to reach the North Pole. Cryptically, Tesla had notified the expedition that he would be trying to contact them somehow. They were to report to him the details of anything unusual they might witness on the open tundra. On the evening of June 30, accompanied by his associate George Scherff atop Wardenclyffe tower, Tesla aimed his death ray across the Atlantic towards the arctic, to a spot which he calculated was west of the Peary expedition.

"Tesla switched on the device. At first, it was hard to tell if it was even working. Its extremity emitted a dim light that was barely visible. Then an owl flew from its perch on the tower's pinnacle, soaring into the path of the beam. The bird disintegrated instantly.

"That concluded the test. Tesla watched the newspapers and sent telegrams to Peary in hopes of confirming the death ray's effectiveness. Nothing turned up. Tesla was ready to admit failure when news came of a strange event in Siberia."
Image source: Page 2 of The Fantastic Four, Volume 1 # 13, "The Fantastic Four, Versus The Red Ghost" (part 1 of "Mystery on the Moon), page 315 of the 2005 Omnibus. Story by Stan Lee, Art by King Kirby.

1 comment:

  1. Reeed Richards' disembodied head, floatin about looking serious. I love it!

    Seriously though, this was probably a big meteorite, no? I could imagine secondary blasts and explosions from a big one. Or at least the illusion of multiple explosions.

    That's what happened in Toulouse in 2001 with the AZF explosion. Fucker was so loud people thought it was next door. Hence, multiple reports. Imagine then, with info delay, slow transmission time. Maybe two reports of the same thing were treted as two events, etc.


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