On June 30th, 1908 at 7:17 am, a catastrophe of large magnitude took place in the atmosphere five miles about Siberia shaking the city to its core. This was known as the Tunguska Explosion and it had a disastrous effect with a wide radius of damage. Directly underneath the blast, the forest was charred and burnt to a crisp, and the trees were toppled over 20-miles out from the epicenter. It reportedly blew windows out 50 miles away and threw occupants within their houses to the ground. From up to a hundred miles out, witnesses described a giant black mushroom cloud of ash along with a horrific boom. This deafening sound was heard from over 300 miles away, and seismographic equipment across the world recorded strange data coming for northern Russia. Even to this day, over a hundred years later, strange growth patterns of flora and fauna can be found in the explosion region.
The closest observers to the explosion were animal herders who were 25 miles away from the epicenter of the blast. They were blown into the air while they were sleeping in their tents. One man reportedly died, and the others lost consciousness. Upon awaking and recollecting their thoughts, they noticed a thousand of their reindeer were killed and the forest around them was smoldering with fiery embers. Other witnesses from a different location roughly 50 miles south of the explosion epicenter, reported seeing the sky split in two, with the northern half completely covered in flames. They too got thrown in the air and also felt a blast of heat wash over them as if their clothes were on fire.
Many other residents of distant towns had observed the mysterious phenomenon’s final act approach. They saw a great ‘ball of fire’ with an iridescent light streak across the early morning sky. Many thought it was the apocalypse or the return of Christ. First reports of the explosion were in an Irkutsk paper dated July 2, 1908, which was published a couple days after the explosion:
…the peasants saw a body shining very brightly (too bright for the naked eye) with a bluish-white light… The body was in the form of ‘a pipe’, i.e. cylindrical. The sky was cloudless, except that low down on the horizon, in the direction in which this glowing body was observed, a small dark cloud was noticed. It was hot and dry and when the shining body approached the ground (which was covered with the forest at this point) it seemed to be pulverized, and in its place, a loud crash, not like thunder, but as if from the fall of large stones or from gunfire was heard. All the buildings shook and at the same time, a forked tongue of flames broke through the cloud. All the inhabitants of the village ran out into the street in panic. The old women wept, everyone thought that the end of the world was approaching
Due to worldly affairs and internal political upheavals such as the Russian Revolution and World War I, Russian authorities were unable to initially investigate the phenomenon. It was not until 1921 when the Soviet Academy of Sciences chose a scientist, Leonid Kulik to head up an investigation team who would travel to Siberia with the intent to gather information from the local populace.
When Kulik arrived he collected newspaper articles, and eyewitness accounts to assess the time and location of the Tunguska Explosion. He took photographs and studied the land, but never found any fragments or meteorite rocks. The absence of physical remnants left the Russians completely baffled as it appeared that whatever caused the massive blast had vaporized itself. They strongly felt that only a gigantic rock from outer space could have caused those effects.
Soon after the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan during Second World War, photographs and data of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki devastation were compared to the epicenter of the Tunguska explosion. They showed many similarities. A review of eyewitness accounts together with the compared data increased the likelihood that the Tunguska Explosion was a nuclear detonation. Although, in 1908 no nuclear weapons publically or internationally existed which led some people to speculate that an alien spacecraft was behind it. Other speculations have also arisen such as the explosion was a space-based weapon created by Tesla, a comet hitting the earth atmosphere, an alien space craft’s impact into the earth’s atmosphere, or the after effects of a dimensional rift.
Over a hundred years later, and the Tunguska Explosion still remains a mystery. However, with humanity’s improved scientific knowledge and technology, it has been able to conclude that the explosion was equivalent to a 40-megaton nuclear weapon. Time will only about the cause of this enigmatic event, as it seems it involves aspects of the world mankind has yet to comprehend.