The Phoenix

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Chicken Little Was Right

The sky is falling?

On June 30, 1908...at 7:17 AM near the Tunguska River in Sibera, the sky did indeed fall. Something exploded with tremendous force, equal to 2,000 times the force of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It leveled 850 square miles, destroying approximately 60 million trees.

What exactly happened?

Obviously that part of Siberia was very remote, but there were several witnesses. They saw a column of bluish light, as bright as the sun, flying across the sky. Minutes later, there was a blinding flash and a series of loud explosions. Suddenly, a massive shockwave spread across the area - killing the natives' livestock, destroying barns, and even shattering windows hundreds of miles away. The shockwave was so tremendous, it even registered on seismic instruments in England.

40 miles from ground zero, people were literally knocked unconscious by the shockwave. Afterwards, fires burned for weeks. Natives believed it was Doomsday.

Semen Semenov: "At that moment I became so hot that I couldn't bear it, as if my shirt was on fire; from the northern side, where the fire was, came strong heat. I wanted to tear off my shirt and throw it down, but then the sky shut closed, and a strong thump sounded, and I was thrown a few yards. It damaged some crops. Later we saw that many windows were shattered, and in the barn a part of the iron lock snapped." Is his name really Semen? Yowza.

Russian scientist Leonid Kulkik lead an expedition to the site in 1927. Why is took nearly 20 years to finally investigate is a mystery to many. I'm thinking maybe some small distraction called World War I got in the way or something. He was expecting to mine some iron from the meteorite that everyone assumed caused the explosion. But they couldn't find a crater...and certainly there was no meteorite.

Several more scientific studies continued throughout the years, and they had some startling results from scientific study and witness testimonies. Strange findings included:

-disturbances in the magnetic field in the area
-local geomagnetic storm
-a reversal of soil magnetization
-an electromagnetic pulse, similar to what would be created by a nuclear explosion
-aurora displays before and after the event
-genetic mutations in plants and animals
-radiation-like burns and deaths of exposed people
-increased Vodka consumption by locals

OK, so I made up the last one. But the other findings are startling indeed. To this day, there is no conclusive explanation for what happened in Tunguska, Siberia. Scientists do have several interesting theories:

An Asteroid Air Burst: Considering the size of the destruction, scientists estimate the rock weighed 100,000 tons. Because there is no crater, an air burst is a logical explanation. But where are all the fragments? Scientists say they were vaporized. To this day, the only debris found at the site has been tiny glass nodules embedded in trees. Those who disagree with this theory remark how very little debris has been found.

A Comet: A comet is different than an asteroid, as comets are made of ice and stone. This would account for the lack of a crater and debris. A lack of evidence leads to this theory being widely accepted - it's like the default theory.

Geophysical Event: The area lies in an ancient volcanic zone. The massive explosion could have been from a build up of methane gas suddenly released from the earth.

Black Hole: This is a 1973 theory. A couple quacks said that a black hole passed through the Earth. I think the pair of scientists who came up with this was was smoking the 'wacky tabbaky.'

Antimatter: Conjured up in 1965, three scientists theorized that a chunk of antimatter fell from space and collided with Earth. I think maybe these guys were dropped on their heads when they were babies.

UFO: You knew these people were going to get in on this controversy. Some say it was a UFO crashing. Others believe aliens used some sort of weapon to create such an explosion. If I were to go with a UFO theory, it'd have to be the crash one. In fact, in 2004, scientists claimed to have found debris from an alien spacecraft.

Nikola Tesla: This is my favorite theory. Tesla was the great Russian-born scientist (born in Siberia actually). He became a U.S. citizen, and he's known as the greatest inventor in the world. Some believe the Tunguska Event was from a massive Tesla experiment gone wrong. Tesla built the Wardenclyffe Tower on Long Island, NY in order to see how to create and transmit energy from point A to point B. It's said Tesla told Robert Peary, who was leading a second expedition to the North Pole, to look out for some unusual aurora phenomon while out there. Witnesses recall Tesla working with sending the energy via the Tower on that date, but there's just too much room for speculation. Still, it's a pretty colorful theory.

The Tunguska Event continues to be a mystery today, and it continues to be a subject in the most imaginary of ways. X-Files, Ghostbusters, and even Star Trek have all incorporated the mystery of Tunguska somewhere. Even after nearly 100 years later, Siberians still look up to the sky, wondering "what if..."

I wonder how you say "The sky is falling" in Russian...

37 Comments:

Blogger angel, jr. said...

Isn't Chicken Little on American Idol right now? I think his real name is Kevin.

3/15/2006 11:13 AM  
Blogger Curare_Z said...

Not only is the guy's name Semen, but it's Semen Semenov. That's like being named Jack Jackoff.

3/15/2006 11:18 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

Seman Semanov - A name so nice that they named him twice.

How does the comet theory take into account the genetic mutations and the radiation burns?

3/15/2006 11:19 AM  
Blogger phred said...

It seems that the radioactive residue and mutations would eliminate several of the proposed explainations...
However, I know very little about black holes and anti-matter.
Has anyone ever taken a picture of a black hole ? If so, what kind of film did they use.
Has anyone ever gotten close enough to anti-matter to collect a sample ?
After considering the evidence at hand...

I have to concur with Chicken Little.
Most probably, the sky IS falling.

3/15/2006 11:49 AM  
Blogger KC said...

Fascinating! You always come up with the most fun/weird stuff!

3/15/2006 11:50 AM  
Blogger phred said...

P.S.

The absence of anal probes would rule out Extraterrestrial involvement.

3/15/2006 11:52 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

You'll make a space alien outa me yet! :o)

3/15/2006 12:14 PM  
Blogger crallspace said...

I never got into stuff like UFO's etc.

3/15/2006 12:32 PM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

When I was younger, I read an article about the black hole theory that was more convincing than you might think.

But now, I believe it was Boris Yeltsin, arriving on our planet from Krypton ... anyone else notice how he kind of looked like Brando in the first Superman movie?

-- david

3/15/2006 12:57 PM  
Anonymous delmer said...

"Semen! ... Semen Semenov! Come home for dinner."

His mother must have liked the way it sounded.

Maybe, when the child was born, dad said, "I'd like to give him a name that rolls off the tongue."

The first thing that came to mom's mind was ... well ... Gary. But that wasn't Russian enough.

3/15/2006 12:59 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

All the exciting things happen in Siberia.

3/15/2006 1:28 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

That is fascinating stuff; I can't decide which theory I like best, though.

небо падает = "The sky is falling"

3/15/2006 2:17 PM  
Blogger Dirk the Feeble said...

I like Semen.

This is like the best blog ever.

3/15/2006 2:52 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

angel, I agree. Kevin is Chicken Little, and he needs to get his ass booted right NOW.

curare, good one...what was Momamov and Dadadov thinking?

fuzz, Excellent point about the comet. You should be a scientist.

phred, blackholes and anti-matter are very mathmatical yet intangible at the same time. Either one would completely destroy the whole world if they came anywhere near us. Anal probes, blackholes, antimatter...it all sounds so pornographic.

KC, thanks. I try.

Karen, gee...I hope not. We all love your humanity. Personally, the UFO theory is totally B.S. in my opinion.

crallspace, I have always been fascinated by the possibility - actually the near certainty of life elsewhere. UFOs are funny to me because many are too eager to believe.

david, is Boris Kryptonian? I never saw him with his shirt that had a big fat "B" on it. Boris had about 50 lbs on Superman I era Brando.

metal mark, yeah...freezing your balls off 9 months out of the year is very exciting.

delmer, your remark about a name rolling of your tongue almost made me choke on my own spit.

laurie, ok...so how do you pronounce that???

dirk, so you're dirk now? Where's Erkel?

3/15/2006 3:10 PM  
Blogger Perplexio said...

-increased Vodka consumption by locals

OK, so I made up the last one.


2 points to make here:

1) I know you were just kidding, but if this were indeed true, how would anyone be able to tell if the Vodka consumption had increased? I mean don't many Russians (especially those in Siberia) down vodka as if it were water? How could anyone really tell if the consumption were inreased when it's already that high to begin with.

2) You forgot to mention the acres of potato fields which were instantaneously distilled into giant lakes of vodka (which would explain the increased vodka consumption you actually did mention)

3/15/2006 3:12 PM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

Maybe Bob knows something about this matter. Did that female alien give up any closely guarded alien secrets during their sexual encounter?

Semen in the first & last name. I certainly hope that guy isn't impotent.

That Geophysical explanation sounds like the earth let a great, big fart. Mother Nature must has eaten beans or something.

3/15/2006 3:25 PM  
Blogger mrshife said...

That is a very fascinating story that I have never heard before. Thank you so much for sharing.

3/15/2006 4:04 PM  
Blogger Keshi said...

goshhhh Semen lolllllllll!


Keshi.

3/15/2006 4:56 PM  
Anonymous the weirdgirl said...

Interesting post! I'd like to read more about the mutations. The more of your site I read, the more stories I've never heard before pop up! (And I thought I knew a lot of these.)

3/15/2006 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

I remember reading about this. I always thought that they felt it was ice and gases that just exploded in an atomic bomb way. That would account for the radiation and the mutations.

3/15/2006 8:20 PM  
Blogger Pixie said...

Just passing thru to say "Hi"so people dont think I have been abducted by aliens or anything ;)

3/15/2006 9:04 PM  
Blogger Fated said...

Wow. What can I say you always present the most interesting things on your blog. I <3 it.

3/15/2006 11:46 PM  
Blogger LBseahag said...

I learn stuff I never knew I wanted to on here...

Tesla- and here I thought it was just a band...gotta love that song Modern Day Cowboy...

I still keep pondering Mike the Chicken...

3/16/2006 1:12 AM  
Blogger Ben Heller said...

I'd go for an asteroid Phoenix. We have a member of Parliament over here called Lembit Opik and he's from Estonia (a former Russian province). He's always banging on about how we should fear an iminent Asteroid crashing down in the next few years.

3/16/2006 1:52 AM  
Blogger DaBich said...

Too bad Nikola Tesla isn't around to ask him about it. Can we get a Medium and maybe see if we can contact him? Do it in the site where the big explosion occurred!

3/16/2006 6:35 AM  
Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

Okay, so it caused increased vodka consumption.

Interesting.

So...have you ever heard of anything that may have happened...say...around Central Florida, that could've caused increased rum consumption???

Just askin'....;)

3/16/2006 8:24 AM  
Blogger ozymandiaz said...

The only problem with the comet theory is the fact that comets move way too fast. Another distinction between comets and meteors (or asteroids) aside from unkown compstion is they move something like 60 miles a second compared to around 3 miles a second. Regardless of composition there would be an impact.
With that in mind, don't dismiss exotic materials like anti-matter. Anti matter would react with the atmosphere about the same as it would the ground causing a high atmosphere explosion. Also only a tiny bit of material would be required because not only the anit-matter explodes but so does the normal material (atmosphere).
The black hole, albeit a theory I enjoy, would have turned us into swiss cheese.

3/16/2006 8:28 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

perplexio, I thought I was just making a gross assumption, but now I see that it was more of a logical conclusion.

JD, they need to make Beano for Earth.

mrshife, thanks for reading.

keshi, yeah, it caught my attention too.

WG, I try to dig 'em up for everyone's enjoyment.

Jennifer, I'm leaning towards the comet theory myself. But I don't think they'll be able to say 100% for sure.

Pixie, I'm so glad you're still around! I was getting worried.

Ben, Did you listen to my podcast? May 4, 2102.

dabich, If I was able to contact Tesla, I'd also ask him about The Philadelphia Experiment.

Stacy, rum consumption in Florida is pure availability.

Ozy, They did find mineral deposits left from the blast, so an antimatter theory wouldn't explain that.

There isn't significant amoutns of antimatter floating around in space. If it did, it's reaction with regular matter would create high levels of gamma ray radiation, which we've never recorded in our corner of the galaxy. Such a reaction would be easily observable.

Also, from the massive explosion would've followed a chain reaction that would lead to a massive increase in carbon-14 in the air, and such an increase hasn't been found.

3/16/2006 9:20 AM  
Blogger AnonymousCoworker said...

The sky is falling in Russian is pronounced "Da! Vodka!"

3/16/2006 9:22 AM  
Blogger FantasticAlice said...

Okay, a monkey the russians sent up into space eventually landed in a black hole and became super intelligent... he then went back in time to warn his fellow monkeys of the vodka crazed russians and their space program but do to his opposable thumb and a slippery banana instead miscalculated and hit into the ground at 130 mph instead of a nice smooth landing.

3/16/2006 10:03 AM  
Blogger cube said...

Runsky russkie!

3/16/2006 11:09 AM  
Blogger TNChick said...

Ok, I haven't watched AI but I'd like to see what this Kevin guy looks like after reading the first comment.

I don't have allergies; however, my husband does, I'll pass along your info :)

3/16/2006 12:20 PM  
Blogger at the Lake said...

Yo- firey birdboy,
you know anything about handheld GPS?

3/16/2006 3:38 PM  
Blogger at the Lake said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/16/2006 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Haas said...

Black Hole

Wtf, are these the same guys who suggested it might have been a huge fart first!

3/17/2006 4:09 AM  
Blogger Cari said...

That is some pretty surreal shrit you are saying...and here we are like blind idiots thinking everything's ok. Someone hand me some vodka dammit.

3/17/2006 7:36 AM  
Blogger Rocky said...

This explosion is a mystery. It's too bad it happened in 1908, as almost 100 years takes a lot of evidence away too.

3/18/2006 4:58 AM  

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Welcome to the blog that aims to examine the lighter side of science. From the paranormal to wacky inventions, to strange mysteries and goofy experiments, I cover it all. Thanks for stoping by blazingtalons.com...where science is always stranger than fiction







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