As we move into the month of June, it’s been 111 years since an explosion rocked a remote and sparsely inhabited region of Siberia, and what caused the blast is still nothing more than speculation.
The only thing known with certainty is that on June 30, 1908, something coming in from outer space exploded over the Taiga Forest in the Tunguska region of Siberia with such tremendous force that all the trees in a 28 mile radius were laid flat.
The most puzzling part of the event is that whatever it was left absolutely no clue as to its identity other than the topped and burned trees.
Some researchers are beginning to wonder if there might be a connection with what’s known as the Taurid Swarm.
This “swarm” produces more than the pebble-sized particles that make meteors or “falling stars” visible, but what about something that was so large its terminal burst could level a forest.
Over the years, researchers have been backtracking the trajectory of the object and have come up with what they think may have been its cause. The trajectory of the impactor suggests it may have come from the Taurid Swarm.
Several eyewitnesses living outside the impact zone reported having seen a tremendous fire ball fall from the sky and although no impact crater has ever been found, a seismic shock wave was picked up on instruments 550 miles away.
It’s still quite distant, but in November 2032, Earth will again pass through the Taurid Swarm, a cloud of debris from Comet 2P/Encke that makes brilliant fireballs when its gravelly particles occasionally hit Earth’s atmosphere.
Meteor, comet, asteroid, or whatever it happened to be did not, as I said, leave any conclusive evidence.
This lack of substantiating material has provided the fodder needed by more than one author to come up with a pretty amazing answers: the blast was caused when the nuclear power plant of an alien spacecraft malfunctioned and exploded.
The suggestion of a nuclear blast is based, in part, on the reported radioactivity in the deep rings of fallen trees in the area.
If it were a comet or meteoroid, it would have had to detonate above ground since there is absolutely no trace of an impact crater.
From an altitude of 50 to 100 miles high an explosion of the magnitude of the Tunguska object would have created a shock wave that would continue forward resulting in the destruction of the trees.
There must have also been a tremendous amount of heat associated with the event since eyewitnesses described “overpowering heat” that ignited fires in dry grass and underbrush 8 miles away from the site.
In one of my earlier columns, I mentioned a book “The Fire Came By” authored by John Baxter and Thomas Atkins. In their opinion, the tremendous amount of damage occurred when a nuclear powered alien spacecraft exploded and was pulverized.
They base their conclusion on “eyewitnesses” which said the object was observed changing directions prior to the explosion. We all know that comets and meteoroids to not make such alterations in their trajectories.
Because no one to date has produced unimpeachable proof to support any one theory, it will be necessary for us to continue to accept one fact: we may never know.