Talk:Tunguska event

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Why is this article using a dated 1983 reference and claiming 10–15 megatons as most probable when newer references suggest closer to "about four megatons"? Even Asher2005 (page 2) suggests only "~10 megatons". I think the article should be changed to read "5–10 megatons as most probable". -- Kheider (talk) 16:40, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Because we don't accept the New York Times as a good source of scientific facts. The four megaton claim, to my knowledge, comes from a single primary research paper. The 10-15 megaton claim comes from many, including secondary papers. If the scientific consensus has actually shifted, and that can be demonstrated, then it will be changed in the article. Someguy1221 (talk) 19:02, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
I would hope Donald K. Yeomans and Mark Boslough would be good enough to lower the best-fit used by Wikipedia. The days of thinking Tunguska was caused by a 75-meter object exploding with no downward movement appear to be coming to an end. The Tunguska impactor was probably only 120 feet (37 m) in diameter ==> "But the generally agreed upon theory is that on the morning of June 30, 1908, a large space rock, about 120 feet across, entered the atmosphere of Siberia and then detonated in the sky." Can you name a peer-reviewed paper in the last 10 years claiming Tunguska was caused by a 15 Mt air burst similar to Castle Bravo? -- Kheider (talk) 11:54, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
What I'm looking for and haven't seen is a peer-reviewed secondary source that gives the ~4 megaton figure as the new consensus. Someguy1221 (talk) 02:43, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
Then can we change it to read "~10 megatons as most probable" and compare it to Ivy Mike? We could use Asher2005 as a reference. Right now, the article does not even mention 3 Mt as the lower bound. -- Kheider (talk) 10:22, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Phil Plait also agrees that Tunguska was 30 meters or so in size. -- Kheider (talk) 11:13, 1 March 2013 (UTC)


Is "epicentre" the accepted term for the location directly underneath a mid-air explosion? By Greek derivation, the word would mean "upon the center," and that is in fact what it means when applied to earthquakes. Here it seems odd. Ishboyfay (talk) 03:03, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

The term "hypocenter" seems to be more accurate in this context. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:14, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

"Mostly material damages"?[edit]

Currently the only statement on casualties is "Mostly material damages". What does that mean? What kind of non-material damages were reported? Any deaths? Injuries? -- Dan Griscom (talk) 01:41, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

Yeah, it's pretty vague. This is described further in the eyewitness accounts: No human deaths or injuries, but there was minor property damage (destroyed crops, shattered windows, and at least one collapsed dwelling). Someguy1221 (talk) 02:48, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
If you have a source for that, it would be great to add to the article, as it's surprising given the intensity of the blast (although perhaps not given the location). == Dan Griscom (talk) 19:40, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
The sources are contemporary newspapers, already listed in the article. Off the top of my head, I don't recall that any of the sources in the article explicitly state that "no one was injured", "no one was killed". Someguy1221 (talk) 20:24, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

Nikola Tesla section removed[edit]

I'm removing the section about Tesla causing the Tunguska event. It is based on factual errors about history (the Wardenclyffe tesla coil was never completed and operated) and errors about science (tesla coils are not capable of causing focused mega-ton sized explosions at great distant locations). DonPMitchell (talk) 19:11, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

It is, of course, wildly unlikely or perhaps just plain impossible that Tesla had anything to do with the Tunguska event but that fact does not address the argument for including the section in this article. The argument for including a mention of the Tesla theory in this article is that the theory that a Tesla experiment may have caused the Tunguska event is of sufficient notability to deserve a mention in this article. I don't know whether it is or not. I know I'd never heard of the theory before I read this article so from my perspective it does not seem to be particularly notable. --Davefoc (talk) 20:42, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
There is notability.--ManosHacker (talk) 01:13, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
I have also removed the section because this is an encyclopedia about a scientific topic. It is not sufficiently notable and Wikipedia is not a conspiracy novel. -- Kheider (talk) 14:49, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
This article is not a scientific paper about an event, it is about an event that happened. Keep scientific speculations apart fron non scientific, if you like, but notable speculations remain.--ManosHacker (talk) 08:36, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Actually, they don't. Notability really has no bearing on what content is retained in an article, but is the standard for deciding whether a topic should have its own article. The policy you are reaching for is significance - that is, facts and points of view that are held by a significant body of reliable sources may be included in the article. And the fact is, no reliable sources discuss the Tesla theory as anything more than a stupid idea, if even. It may just barely skirt over the line of notability, but it's utterly insignificant. Other entries in the speculative hypotheses section probably also fit that bill, including the flying saucer theory that was in the article for years. Someguy1221 (talk) 09:06, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
You mean that the black hole thing or the antimatter one, are not stupid? Please. You cannot be the judge of anything. If you are to be a judge of common sense, then I say that antimatter travelling through solar wind makes it more bright than the sun as it comes closer and closer. You have the New Scientist article to consider if Tesla is to be kept inside the article or not.--ManosHacker (talk) 09:25, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
The black hole and the antimatter one have been very well published, regardless of my opinion towards them. New Scientist has a reputation for occasionally publishing crap, which is a problem inherent to their lack of peer review. Someguy1221 (talk) 09:34, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Have you seen any picture of a tail of a comet traveling through solar wind? A comet is MATTER, not antimatter. I can also be a judge of the crap that is published and the publishers that let it be out there.--ManosHacker (talk) 09:54, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
I argue this way because you use the word "stupidity". Please do not. I do not believe that Tesla did it. But I have to keep notable speculations, crap or not. And this is NOT a scientific article, you have to understand this.--ManosHacker (talk) 09:40, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Actually the antimatter and black hole ideas were theories placed in public domain by educated authorities for testing the plausibility of the idea. The theories rapidly failed because educated does not mean someone wisely thinks through an idea far enough before putting it out for address by ones peers. I believe these two ideas continue to be regularly mentioned primarily because they constitute easy exercises for undergraduate physics courses to "resolve" as invalid...much like the old Galileo gravity experiments continually get repeated. Meaning the failed theories are notable only as academic exercises.
P.S. antimatter and matter act just alike until they come in contact with each other or close enough for electric field interactions to become strong. So in theory a comet could be made of anti-matter. But I think that evidence is extremely strong against occurrences in the local astronomical neighborhood. If the big bang had marked an all proto-energy singularity converting energy to antimatter and matter...I am pretty sure the physics models would show the initial antimatter and matter required to move in opposite directions at near light speed (or better due to the questionable definition of time and thus speed before the existence of distance [i.e. singularity]). I need to look at the latest speculations and theory of natural antimatter formation, but I would guess that in the matter side of the universe that ONLY collapsing stars with strong magnetic fields or similarly magnetic blackholes can spew out significant chunks of natural antimatter that are not immediately destroyed by contact with matter - where a few grams of dust would be considered significant. If the universe did have an anti-matter side, its would be extremely rare for any part to overcome velocity imparted at the big bang and wander over into the matter side of the universe. (talk) 13:07, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Just imagine some grams of antimatter against the solar wind. It cannot survive. The space out there is not empty of matter. Antimatter and its path becomes extremeley visible inside our solar system, if any, and pretty soon it becomes light.--ManosHacker (talk) 13:54, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Edit warring provoking[edit]

Removing documented content, without giving arguments on arguments in the talk page, is edit warring. Please stop.--ManosHacker (talk) 14:09, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

It would be edit warring by you, if you are the only editor that thinks it is of sufficient notability. -- Kheider (talk) 14:26, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
So you propose I make a case and bring it to village pump for discussion as you do not have arguments to my points. I'll give it a try.--ManosHacker (talk) 15:57, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
I do not even see the word "Tunguska" mentioned in the Nikola Tesla article. -- Kheider (talk) 16:20, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
Of course you do not, it is unlikely that he did it. The thing is if we keep speculations that have notability (even crap) or not. I would keep this antimatter crap just to make my students develop critic thinking.--ManosHacker (talk) 16:32, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

Arguments / History[edit]

  • 1UpGreenArrow.png Tesla section remains inside the article, accepted by everyone as notable, until
  • 1DownRedArrow.png DonPMitchell talks about scientific errors (incomplete and incapable Tesla device), that seem to be his own speculations, and removes Tesla section.
  • 1UpGreenArrow.png Davefoc argues for sufficient notability of the Tesla speculation despite the truth of the event.
  • 1UpGreenArrow.png ManosHacker adds higher notability with New Scientist article and rewrites the section (that finally concludes in non-pov form).
  • 1DownRedArrow.png KheiderIt has the opinion that the Tesla section is still not sufficiently notable (as a scientific explanation, I presume).
  • 1DownRedArrow.png Someguy1221 argues that the Tunguska event article is a scientific one (local consensus) and there is no space for stupid ideas.
  • 1DownRedArrow.png Someguy1221 judges Tesla and Flying Saucer as stupid ideas and also judges New Scientist as an unaccepted publisher.
  • 1UpGreenArrow.png ManosHacker objects that the article is about an event, not a scientific paper on the event (global consensus), and speculations that have been notable in history should be kept.
  • 1UpGreenArrow.png ManosHacker also says that he himself believes Tesla did not do it but no one of us is in a position to judge if Tesla was capable of doing it or not.
  • 1UpGreenArrow.png ManosHacker reveals the obvious error of antimatter theory as far more crap than Tesla, as antimatter travelling inside our solar system would light up against the solar wind for weeks, be hyper-observable for days closing to the Sun, and the same should be for any antimater object travelling through our solar system, not only the Tunguska one that "hit" the Earth. DonPMitchell has argued that scientific errors, that he judges as such, should be the cause for immediate rejection. But ManosHacker supports that antimatter should also remain inside the article as notable history debate about it.

Every 1UpGreenArrow.png and 1DownRedArrow.png includes a point of argument.--ManosHacker (talk) 17:49, 24 February 2013 (UTC)


  • Move Tesla under a properly titled section. ManosHacker 08:06, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

The Tesla connection is certainly well published and was considered significant enough to be a major part of the plot of the Sixth Episode of Season Six of the Science Channel television show Dark Matters: Twisted But True this suggests the theory no matter how contrafactual or counterfactual is notable enough it should at the very least be mentioned. Fringe scientific theories are documented many places in Wikipedia. — Falerin<talk>,<contrib> 13:40, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

ISBN Format[edit]

The positions of the hyphens in the citations to the various books cited in the main article are rather variable. I observe that the institutional subscription database WorldCat solves this problem by using none at all. C.s.auaeginal (talk) 02:39, 21 February 2013 (UTC)c.s.auaeginal

Airburst model reference[edit]

Can we get a reference to the modern physics models of meteorite air bursts?

I am only aware of three ancient models which all seem to become invalid for a large enough meteorite of relatively solid composition: (1) Crushing by ram air pressure. Problem with no backside force to create a vice, this mechanical stress would seem to be limited to causing front side erosion in a free falling body. Further ram pressure could possibly be partially neutralized by vaporized material much like high pressure air layer does on high speed Russian torpedoes. (2) Thermal models which predict melting or break down via differential thermal expansion stress seem to ignore the slow speed of heat conduction and the brief flight time to reach the surface. Practical experience with materials suggest heat reaches the center of only relatively small meteorites by conduction. Large bodies would seem to be more likely to suffer onion skin loss of material by thermal stress (much like ram pressure erosion). So it seems large body explosions require the materials to be unbelievably well honeycombed with air passages to transmit heat by convection like effects before conduction takes over. Such a extremely porous body could explode more simply by being crushed to fragments from inside by ram air pressure then those smaller fragments could burst a few instants later via the thermal model. (3) Centrifugal force model -- meteorites begin spin rapidly to due air acting on irregular shape and explode when mechanical strength limits met. Low strength of materials means not much explosive energy release in each stage here - even with a cascade of exponentially growing numbers of fragments. Seems destine to fizzle as fragments rapidly spread out. Plus I have doubts that said irregular shapes would typically form stable enough spins to create catastrophic spins before ram air effects tore off irregularities.

Not proposing the above as authoritative -- just demonstrating why references to modern air burst models is of interest. The above and that fact that I have been part of government studies directed to make comforting but unproven conclusions to comfort the unquestioning public. Surprising what sometimes gets published for grants and how seldom peers look in depth beyond the math to experimental model assumptions for stuff that sounds good. (talk) 12:36, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Couldn't agree more man!
Boundarylayer (talk) 19:00, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Tunguska_event#Blast_patterns - put in the citation needed tags and added operation Blowdown[edit]

The explosion's effect on the trees near the epicentre of the explosion was replicated during atmospheric nuclear tests in the 1950s and 1960s,[citation needed] and was similar to the effects of the conventional Operation Blowdown. These effects are caused by the blast wave produced by large explosions.

Operation Blowdown is the closest analog of a test I could think of, no nuclear testing was conducted in an effort to directly replicate the effects observed at Tunguska, that I know of. Moreover, no US nuclear testing was, serendipitously, conducted over thick forest, to my limited knowledge. Naturally I would like to be corrected on this, if I am in error. Operation upshot knothole, and also perhaps Operation Teapot, and the few airbursts at the pacific proving grounds(island tests) such as shot Able in - Operation Crossroads were not directly over a forest, sure some trees were scattered around further afield, but none were directly over a forest of trees, that I know of.

I would appreciate, if there are any replies, that you ping me on my talk page to let me know.

Much Obliged, Boundarylayer (talk) 18:53, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

One death?[edit]

A Technology Review blog post on an paper, , mentioned that "historians recorded only one death and just handful of eyewitness reports from nearby." We don't mention any deaths in this article; if there was one we should mention it.

The Tech Review is nowhere near reliable enough to be a reference; it would be great to find out where that information came from. -- Dan Griscom (talk) 02:17, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

People just hearing about this event for the first time would probably generally assume, despite the relative sparseness of the area compared to Krakatoa for example, that many people died. Krasnoyarsk Krai says that it killed "thousands of reindeer". Given this, we really ought to make some statement in the article that nobody or almost nobody is recorded as having died. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 03:36, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
I've seen the death count cited as zero, one or two in different articles, e.g.: answers give deaths as zero or one, although different answers of "one" cite different circumstances two deaths no deaths two deaths many other references, a fair number of which are available as PDFs, although they mostly focus on the geophysical aspects of the event
So, there's almost nothing I've found that's a valid reference for the number of deaths. I'm not sure where to take this. -- Dan Griscom (talk) 00:47, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
The precise number barely matters. For an explosion of this magnitude, which could potentially have killed literally millions of people, that it was as low as 2 is functionally equivalent to 1 or 0. I'd just say that the number of recorded fatalities was very low, either or 1 or 2 depending in the source, and noting that some sources do not acknowledge any deaths at all. Provide the above sources to back up these statements. The word "recorded" is important, since it's absurd to think that only 1 or 2 people actually died. What is far more likely, imo, is that many more died, but either all trace of them was obliterated in the explosion, or what remained of them was destroyed or eaten by wolves or bears in the 13-odd years between the explosion and the search. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 04:39, 9 May 2013 (UTC)


I'd like a map showing the "butterfly" shape. --Error (talk) 02:37, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

I was curious about the same thing. 8) -- Beland (talk) 19:17, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
Agreed! The paper which is supplied to support this "spread eagle butterfly" shape is Boyarkina, A. P., Demin, D. V., Zotkin, I. T., Fast, W. G. Estimation of the blast wave of the Tunguska meteorite from the forest destruction. – Meteoritika, Vol. 24, 1964, pp. 112–128 (in Russian). Perhaps someone with a subscription to that journal-Meteoritika- could do us a favor and make a copy/facsimile? Of note is that this pattern was also present following the Chelyabinsk meteor airburst, a map of building glass damage caused by the object in Chelyabinsk Oblast with villages and towns in the area marked is available Here, and is similarly "spread eagle butterfly"-shaped. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:43, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

"What lies behind the Tunguska explosion" by Valery Uvarov:[edit]

The truth about tunguska, the article "What lies behind the Tunguska explosion" by Valery Uvarov: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:16, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Not a Metoer, hands down fact![edit]

If you really study this event, and study the definately related Patomskiy "crater", you know for an undeniable fact that the Tunguska Event was an event of two or more interplanetary craft "fighting". This was a battle and the debris lie burried in the Patomskiy "crater". There is no other argument necessary until we build a road to the Patomskiy "crater" and take some bull dozers up there and dig up that hole. Or, we can waste another thousand years or so fighting and killing each other in stupid fake wars so dirt bags like the Rockefeller and Rothschild families can make another billion dollars they will take to their graves stuffed up their butts.

All this science and study and nobody really wants to face the fact "someone" else lives "out there" and for some reason they were fighting and their battle ended in the remote Siberian forrest. They wont face that fact because it does not fit in to their religious "beliefs", even though we all know religions are 100% fake and that word "belief" itself means, "I want it to be real even though I know it's not".

But to keep calling the Tunguska "Event" a meteoric or cometary event is so foolish I want to cut off my head, and to call what lies at the Patomskiy "crater" a crater is simply the most retarded thing I have seen our academics do in a history of stupid theories, idiotic hypothesis, and rediculous conclusions. You want to understand our inability to evolve? It's because all of our science is based on one a-hole after another coming up with one stupid theory after another so they can earn their Doctorate. And we end up stuck in that until another a-hole comes around and proves it all wrong but ties us up with another stupid theory.

A planet full of amazing mysteries and we can't go there and study them because of greed, politics, and religions. Humanity is no smarter than a colony of ants. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Garciaface (talkcontribs) 19:56, 17 January 2014 (UTC)

You may want to read Wikipedia:Original research.--Ymblanter (talk) 19:58, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
Correct, you may find Thor's Hammer; the 1 meter object at the bottom of the lake. The other two objects may be known, but can not be substantiated to the liking of the Wikipedia community. Gnostics (talk) 00:46, 20 June 2015 (UTC)

Space Shuttle Plumes[edit]

The article states,

"Over the next few days, night skies in Asia and Europe were aglow;[14] it has been theorized that this was due to light passing through high-altitude ice particles that had formed at extremely low temperatures—a phenomenon that many years later would be produced by space shuttles re-entering Earth's atmosphere.",

but the articles that are cited reference high altitude clouds formed from space shuttle launches, which do not seem to relate to ice particles forming at extremely low temperatures, and certainly do not relate to the night sky being aglow. The Tunguska event is referenced in these articles as forming the same type of clouds that the space shuttle launches formed, and this is likely significant information. In any case, these events were not caused by shuttles re-entering Earth's atmosphere. I would have made the edit but I do not know where to put the new information. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:31, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

Looks like no one has followed up on this. I'm hesitant to mess with this article, but I do understand English well enough to know that launch and re-entry are two different things. I checked both sources (the Science Daily article, and the Cornell paper on which it's based), and they say that the vapor plumes, which caused glowing clouds to form, were produced by the shuttle's launch and flight; there's no indication that the plumes or clouds were produced by the shuttle's re-entry into the atmosphere. They do mention the comet entering the atmosphere; maybe whoever wrote that paragraph in the WP article confused the two.
As to the rest, I'm not seeing a problem. According to the source articles, the two events (Tunguska event and shuttle flight) were both followed by "brilliant, night-visible clouds, or noctilucent clouds, that are made up of ice particles and only form at very high altitudes and in extremely cold temperatures." I think "the night skies were aglow" is a nicely succinct way of putting it.
Am I missing anything? --Rosekelleher (talk) 13:23, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
Just a heads up, I'm just going to delete the phrase "re-entering Earth's atmosphere". --Rosekelleher (talk) 14:42, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, I think that adds a lot of clarity to the paragraph. (talk) 13:15, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

"Historical" speculation[edit]

@Someguy1221: I reverted your re-addition because the content isn't historical. It's true that the first lines claim that the arguments about to be presented are "historical" and 'from the early 20th century when less was known' but the actual claims under that heading are post-1980. That makes it WP:FRINGE and not of historical interest. The IP was right to remove it, and the burden of proof for inclusion rests on anyone wishing to restore it. Geogene (talk) 23:48, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

By "Historical relevance" I'm not talking about theories that were once the most popular explanation, or ones that are very old. I'm using "historic" in a very literal sense: theories that have been presented in the past, specifically ones that were notable or significant. There are really two varieties contained within that section: Serious scientific hypotheses that got published in mainstream journals, some of which were later debunked by later publications in those same journals; and pseudoscientific hypotheses that were never taken seriously, but gained substantial notability anyway. What is spelled out clearly is that these theories are all either debunked or never gained scientific attention. Well except for the two really loony theories at the end. I believe the material warrants inclusion in its own section. Someguy1221 (talk) 01:33, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
Fair enough that it's not all pseudoscience, but I also have some concerns about WP:WEIGHT. My concern is that it isn't that hard to get a paper past a peer review committee, this is accomplished thousands of times a year. That a journal publishes something means that the methodologies were considered sound enough that the paper is good enough for other scientists to judge and argue about themselves. That's useful to a subculture of trained skeptics, but journal publication is a lower threshold than what's needed for an encyclopedia to pass a viewpoint along for mass consumption by a general audience. Geogene (talk) 18:56, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

Geophysical hypothesis[edit]

Please discuss here. TheSeven (talk) 18:12, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Note that some secondary sources are included in the references. TheSeven (talk) 18:14, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

@TheSeven: thank you for the discussion prompt, but please be advised that you are in violation of the three-revert rule, or nearly so. The burden of establishing why material should be included is on you, and not editors opposed. However, some observations: (1) so far as I can tell the scientific community agrees overwhelmingly that the Tunguska explosion was caused by the impact of some cosmic object and this model is accepted by so few that I contend it doesn't merit inclusion here. We are obligated to present significant minority views on scientific topics, but though I see that Fox News reported on it when it was fresh 14 years ago but I don't see any evidence of lasting importance. Geogene (talk) 18:23, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
There are five references for this: two in the citation-indexed (peer reviewed) literature; two in the general mass media; one in a standard book on the topic. The two in the mass media are both from year of the centenary of the event, 2008 (i.e. 7 years ago, not 14). I assumed that those five references are enough to warrant including a paragraph in the article. Is that not right? TheSeven (talk) 18:34, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
The "standard book", is that this [1]? Doesn't look standard to me. The FOX news piece also mentioned UFOs as a possible cause. I grant that there was a paper in Current Science, but I don't think that's sufficient to include a novel explanation here. I would have to see the EPSL paper but from the title there's no sign of Tunguska. Geogene (talk) 18:46, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
The book is cited in the article, as well as being listed in the bibliography, and it is devoted to the event; so I assumed that it is an acceptable reference. The FOX News piece includes a section entitled "Even stranger ideas", in which UFOs are mentioned; should that really disqualify the piece? For the EPSL paper, it mentions the event twice; the two relevant portions are below.
Intriguingly this Permo–Triassic crater is the exact site of the 1908 Tunguska event, in which ~2000 km2 of forest [80] was flattened by an explosion generally attributed to a bolide ‘meteoroid explosion’.
This evidence suggests that observed kimberlites may have been gas-rich magmas that ascended following the fracture paths created by the escape of even more gas-rich precursor ‘gas explosions’. Any such vapor-dominated ‘magmas’ would be extremely diffcult to spot within the geologic record as they can only be seen by their indirect e¡ects on preserved xenoliths and wallrock – and by deconstructing a very recent event or directly viewing the ‘fireball’ of an event like the 1908 Tunguska cryptoexplosion (a fireball was seen by several 1908 Tunguska eyewitnesses, which was the basis for it being classed as a meteor event, and such fireballs are now routinely searched for by atomic bomb test monitoring satellites).
The AFP piece mentions an article in New Scientist, which I did not know about until just now. The article is only partially available online,[2] but would seem to constitute another secondary source.
TheSeven (talk) 19:13, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
I searched a little more and found two additional references: one primary and one secondary. The primary reference is a 2007 paper by Kundt, published in the book Comet/Asteroid Impacts and Human Society (editors—Bobrowsky & Rickman). The secondary reference is a very short piece in Science; the piece is not free directly, but I found two copies of it.[3][4]
I am far from an expert on this topic. With that caveat, the main argument given against the geophysical hypothesis seems to be that witnesses saw a bolide. In fact, what they saw could well have been a gaseous fireball, as both Kundt and the EPSL paper note.
TheSeven (talk) 20:21, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
There's a lot more problems with the hypothesis than eyewitness testimony. It begins with a non-falsifiable construct, a type of postulated volcanism that has not been observed by humans before and which also not only leaves no trace in the geological record, it leaves no visible trace a few decades later. But the relevant question is whether the sources are enough. New Scientist is much better than the sources that were there before. Are secondary sources still covering this? Geogene (talk) 21:37, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
I found a secondary source, dated 2009, from the successor to RIA Novosti.[5] I also found four additional peer-reviewed sources not by Kundt: two in English (2011, 2015); two in Russian with English abstracts (2010, 2011).
TheSeven (talk) 22:03, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Then that's probably good enough, as long as the sense of the article is that the dominant view is that it's some sort of impact. Geogene (talk) 22:09, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Will do! I am glad that we did this—and it will be a better article with the new references. TheSeven (talk) 22:39, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

2 reported deaths[edit]

While reading about the event in India, I came across this article from the New York Times that mentions the Tunguska event, and claims: "...leveled hundreds of square miles of forest and killed two men and hundreds of reindeer". This appears to be the first time that a reliable source has reported deaths from this event. It does not specifically cite a source for the 2 deaths, but it mentions International Comet Quarterly, which is described by Reuters as a scientific journal. The journal does indeed list the following on its website: "apparent airblast (no recovered meteorites) of an object entering Earth's atmosphere; leveled hundreds of square miles of forest, killing two men and hundreds of reindeer". It lists a number of references which I do not have access to. Should the article be updated to reflect this information, or is someone able to verify this information through the list of references? Michael5046 (talk) 05:54, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

Here are links to two of the referenced papers Sekanina 1983, Lyne et al. 1995, although I didn't find any mention of deaths. This book does repeat the claim about two deaths, but I'm not sure how reliable this is. Mikenorton (talk) 11:10, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

Dear all, After reading the article I feel compelled to comment on the lack of critical information. Students of this event deserve a more thorough cursory treatment. There are over 100 theories about the cause of the event, so of course it is understandable that the editors at Wikipedia would not wish the web page to degenerate into intellectual fisticuffs. Yet, in the words of Joe Friday from the television series Dragnet: "just the facts mam".

Andre Ol'khovatov is the leading world scholar at this time for this topic. He should be consulted on the content of this article. This is something which was had considered years ago:

Dear David!

I like your posts!
By the way, I can say that Tunguska researchers are activating in Russia.
There is already a plan to prepare and publish an Encyclopedia of Tunguska
event consisting of several volumes. It was decided that if modern science
fails to come to solid conclusion on "what it was", maybe this Encyclopedia
will help to next generations, giving them factual description of Tunguska.
It was marked that some witness's accounts were excluded/omitted from
"official" catalog of Tunguska witnesses, because they didn't fit into
compilers/collectors ideas of "what Tunguska was" (for example some led to
conclusion of at least one more fireball moving from opposite direction!).
This time it was stated that all witnesses and all facts must be taken
(comments to them could be made later). Anyway, apparently it is still a
long way to go!
Best wishes,

As a dyed in the wool scholar of the Kulikovskii event I implore Wikipedia to include the following for posterity:

1) A few succinct paragraphs detailing the Kulik expeditions and the data which came of that effort should launch the article. His dedication was essential. Show some respect!

2) An excellent map to paint the venue accurately, indicating a) the extent of the Kulikovskii caldera, b)the local river system, b) the fine structure of the Baikal Rift system in that region--show the Merrill Circus, c)the axis symmetric deviation in the tree lay down--the famous 'butterfly pattern', d) the 'ballistic wave corridor', e) the position of the Suslov karsk, f)the position of Lake Checko, g)the position of Ridge Chuvar, h)the vectors for the dual trajectories--Krinov and Astapovich--which coincide with eyewitness accounts. As far as I can ascertain there is only one account for the Astapovich trajectory from the southwest, but it must be included because it coincides with the axis symmetric deviation in the tree lay down pattern to the northeast. Certainly the felled trees on Ridge Chuvar should be mentioned.

3) The electromagnetic phenomena associated with the event must be mentioned. a) the proton event on the sun which exactly coincides--include excerpts from the July 1908 meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society, b) the small, regular perturbations in the geomagnetic field which preceded the event, c)include the Irkutsk magnetogram, d)include the excursion in the polhode radius, e)include a description of brontides and how that might relate to observer audio accounts of rapid fire artillery. Leave Tesla out of it if you feel compelled to do so, but it would be remiss not to mention that "flames shot up out of the earth into the sky", and that the frequency of the audio certainly might have been at the fundamental ELF frequency of the earth-ionospheric cavity--i.e. 7 Hz. Describe the 'ten west corridor' in the geomagnetic field and the 'meridian of zero compass variation', and show how that relates to the event. Include the unusual aurora observed at Mt. Erebus.

4) Give a comprehensive overview of the geology of that area. Kulik was a geologist. He would appreciate the addition. Speak of the Permian Triassic boundary 251 million years ago when there was continental flood basalt volcanism in that area, of how Kulikovskii is at the southern extreme of the 'flood province'. Mention that diamonds, rare earths and platinoids are mined in the flood province north of Kulikovskii. Much has been alleged about the isotopic anomalies of the tektites to substantiate theories, overlooking the obvious geology. The Kulikovskii scholars need to respectfully make that point absolutely clear. Mention how natural gas is to be found not far from Kulikovskii. Consider the basalt dome capping the caldera, and how the Merrill Circus faults crack that dome. Consider the folding of the Tundra in the caldera which Kulik reported on, which might suggest seismic liquefaction. Certainly consider the action of the permafrost. Mention the transformation of the tundra from a place where man and reindeer could tread, to and impassable swamp.

5) Give a more comprehensive overview of the tree damage. Describe the 'telephone poles' near the epicenter, the decorticated trees on the perimeter and the trees sheared close to the ground by the surface 'pancake' shock wave. Speak of a 'delay point' above. Absolutely do not forget to mention that a large right-handed impulse moment was evident in the tree laydown pattern. Do mention the 'islands of survival'. Mention the substructure to the damage in the Merrill Circus, but also mention what the 2nd Kulik expedition had to say about the remaining damaged trees falling this way and that in the wind.

6) Mention the unusual phenomena associated with the event. The 'darkness in the sky', the 'rainbow bands', the 'solar halo', the outstanding 'bright night' in Siberia and parts of Europe, the Keshma bolide sighting, and of course 'the time disparity' in the Nizhnyaya observer reports from the afternoon. Vasilyev would want that in there. Why not include an excerpt from Holcombe Ingleby's report of the bright night?

Many researchers have simply disregarded pertinent information because it did not abet their particular theory. This article in Wikipedia should be comprehensively informative and accurate. Let the parade of theories be captured elsewhere, as a testament to human creativity.

best, Dave — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hbarover2 (talkcontribs) 16:55, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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New Article from BBC[edit]

This popped up on my newsfeed today and I thought some of the information might be relevant to this page - let me know what you guys think:

  • Russian researchers later said that it was a comet, not a meteor that caused the damage. Comets are largely made up of ice – not rock, like meteorites – so the absence of alien rock fragments would make more sense this way. The ice would have started to evaporate as it entered Earth's atmosphere, and continue to do so as it hit the ground.

Cheers Comatmebro User talk:Comatmebro 20:37, 8 July 2016 (UTC)

Burned negatives of aerial survey?[edit]

Is there any suggestion of why the head of the USSR Meteorological section would burn the negatives of all these thousands of old survey photos? I hate when people include facts like this, but don't give any context or relevance. What are we supposed to make of this? Was he reasonably getting rid of worthless old documents to save space? Was he part of some nefarious plot to cover something up? Just being an asshole? A complete idiot? Is this supposed to be a good thing or a bad thing? Details, please. AnnaGoFast (talk) 03:49, 29 July 2016 (UTC)

Multiple booms?[edit]

Surely there is at least some conjecture as to why there was multiple explosions that were heard that day; they seem well attested, even if they disagree in the exact number of booms. Why would a single bolide exploding cause multiple explosions (or multiple shock waves, for that matter)? I don't know enough about sound propagation or seismic activity to really speculate, but could the body have broken up int multiple pieces which proceeded to explode? Echoing shock/sound waves? In any event, I find it odd that it doesn't address this at all. I hate when an article leaves me with questions (and this one is bound to leave you with enough as it is). Also, the description of the bright body being visible for "ten minutes" seems odd; doesn't it take less time than that for an object traveling at hypersonic speeds to travel from one end of the horizon to the other? The shooting stars I've seen were all traveling so fast that they could have crossed the entire sky in a very short time if they hadn't burned out so rapidly. AnnaGoFast (talk) 04:19, 29 July 2016 (UTC)

Interplanetary volcanism hypothesis[edit]

I wanted to explain in more detail why I removed the volcanism hypothesis in this edit. What we have there is something that superficially appears to be a well sourced addition, but it is not. Only a single source contains the hypothesis, apparently the original publication of it. The other six sources are general sources on Tunguska and volcanoes, which never connect the two together. So those are irrelevant. To @Nitekatt:, the goal here is not to prove that this hypothesis is plausible, but to prove that it is significant - that other scientists have taken note of the theory and written about it. Someguy1221 (talk) 03:10, 6 November 2016 (UTC)

Fringy . . .[edit]

A statement about the so-called geophysical hypothesis should be made that this is an exteme-view held apparently only by the authors of the paper - the evidence for an asteroidal explosion is damn well overwhelming in the scientific community. (talk) 17:19, 14 January 2017 (UTC)

Selected observations[edit]

@DonKress: I'm declining your additions [6] to this article for a number of reasons. (1) because they are accounts from primary sources -- secondary sources should be used instead (2) because it appears to be largely original research (3) because the citations given are inadequate for verification (4) because it appears to be mostly solar observations that are unrelated to the impact. Geogene (talk) 03:59, 9 April 2017 (UTC)

These are scientifically recorded and documented observations that were concurrent with the Tunguska Event. I have the journals. Who says these observations are 'unrelated'? Night skies were lit up after the event. Was that also 'unrelated'?
Since this is intended to be an encyclopedia rather than a source book or journal compilation, we don't extensively include raw data, original observations, or historical texts. The objective is to summarize what is considered important by modern secondary sources. Those solar observations are going to be assumed to be unrelated unless a modern, reliable source explicitly says otherwise, and even then, there's no need to quote paragraphs of it in the article. Without that, any assumption that it is related is WP:ORIGINAL RESEARCH, which will get it deleted from any article it gets added. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with your scholarship, just that it's not appropriate for Wikipedia in its current form. Geogene (talk) 04:25, 9 April 2017 (UTC)

Tunguska deaths, questionable sourcing[edit]

The report that 2 people and many reindeer died in Tunguska has recently been returned to the article, with sourcing to a news report, a student report, someone's blog, and one good looking secondary source. However, that secondary source's own source for the death's is an article in the June 1994 issue of Sky & Telescope, a pop sci magazine, and cites no sources. Really none of these four are usable in this context. There are two books that allegedly contain references to the deaths: Lewis, J.S. Rain of Iron and Ice: The Very Real Threat of Asteroid and Comet Bombardment. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., 1996.; and Norton, O.R. Rocks from Space. Missoula Montana: Mountain Press Publishing Company, 1998. Maybe someone can find these in a library? I think it would be insightful to the article if we had more information on the alleged deaths, or just purge the mention again if no good sources are found. Someguy1221 (talk) 01:37, 17 August 2017 (UTC)

Law of One (Ra material)[edit]

I got an email from an anonymous user that content I reverted yesterday [7] is not ordinary vandalism but rather represents the WP:Fringe beliefs of a new religious movement based on UFOs. I hadn't heard of them but appreciate the info and am posting it here for general awareness in case this is the tip of an iceberg. Geogene (talk) 15:18, 31 August 2017 (UTC)

While I agree it is considered WP:Fringe it definitely was not vandalism. I also disagree with the interpretation of the source of the Law of One material. It was a book created from recordings of 100+ psychic channeling sessions with a being called 'Ra'. It has nothing to do with UFOs and is not a "new religious movement". So, if you allow for WP:Fringe material I would argue it deserves a place on the page. Maybe not it's own heading, but it did not seem to go with any other heading on the page. Cheers...--Truthseeker2017 (talk) 15:52, 31 August 2017 (UTC)
It's definitely Fringe, sounds like this might be in same ballpark as Edgar Cayce. And so the Law of One by McCarty and Rueckert is basically a transcript of these recordings? Are there independent sources that discuss this aside from that? Geogene (talk) 18:45, 31 August 2017 (UTC)
I am not aware of any other independent sources which validate this particular story. The closest I can get is another source validating who Ra is/was. Does that mean it is not worthy of including? Sorry, I'm obviously new to creating content for an article. Cheers... --Truthseeker2017 (talk) 20:38, 31 August 2017 (UTC)
Nope, not worthy. This policy makes it clear, without some kind of attention from mainstream sources, it can't be included. Someguy1221 (talk) 21:02, 31 August 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Someguy1221. I've also found that there was formerly a Wikipedia article at The Law of One (Ra material) which was deleted two years ago for a lack of reliable, independent sourcing. The deletion debate was preserved here. As a general rule, if something isn't notable enough to have a standalone article, it usually doesn't get mentioned in related articles. Geogene (talk) 01:59, 1 September 2017 (UTC)

Unexplained phenomena[edit]

Yesterday I added the following:

There are still some circumstances that have not been convincingly explained. The site lies in the middle of an ancient volcanic eruption zone, the Great Tunguska Depression,[1] and researchers once detected an emission of radon gas that lasted four hours. Attempts to apply carbon-14 dating have shown that the soil was enriched in radioactive carbon-14.[2] The scientific consensus is that the explosion was caused by the impact of a small asteroid, however there are a few dissenters. The Russian geologist Vladimir Epifanov and German astrophysicist Wolfgang Kundt have suggested that the explosion was of methane gas emitted from the earth. Something similar seems to have occurred in 1994 near the village of Cando in Spain.[2] The Russian physicist Dr. Ol'khovatov points to problems with asteroidal and cometary interpretations, and inclines to think that Tunguska was a geophysical event.[3][4]

  1. ^ Kate Ravilious (May 8, 2004). "Four days that shook the world". New Scientist. 
  2. ^ a b Nicola Jones (Sep 7, 2002). "Did blast from below destroy Tunguska?". New Scientist: 14. 
  3. ^ Andrei Ol'khovatov (Nov 2003). "Geophysical Circumstances Of The 1908 Tunguska Event In Siberia, Russia". Earth, Moon, and Planets. doi:10.1023/B:MOON.0000047474.85788.01. 
  4. ^ Andrei Ol'khovatov (Jan 26, 2005). "The tectonic interpretation of the 1908 Tunguska event". 

This was immediately reverted by User Geogene with the comment "this is too much weight for a Fringe viewpoint. Scientific consensus is that this was an asteroid airburst, larger than but otherwise comparable to others that have happened since".

So how do you explain the things that I mentioned? I did not make them up. I did not put in any fringe viewpoint that wasn't already in the article (the geophysical theory). Wikipedia is not required to give only the majority view and to ignore any dissent or facts that are not explained.

Eric Kvaalen (talk) 09:55, 2 October 2017 (UTC)

@Eric Kvaalen:, I think I was perfectly clear in my edit summary. Why are you restoring disputed material without getting consensus for it first? Geogene (talk) 19:42, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
And since you apparently want to argue about this garbage, the Cando event didn't happen, and it boggles my mind why you think that "old" methane would be enriched in Carbon-14. That doesn't make sense, even from first principles. That's the exact opposite of what would happen if the soil were being enriched with fossil carbon. This is a truckload of bullshit that doesn't belong in an encyclopedia. Geogene (talk) 19:47, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
I could equally well ask why you reverted my edit while we're still discussing! Look, I don't know what happened at Tunguska. I have no position on the matter. I'm not advocating the methane explosion theory. I haven't even read the papers that advocate it. (Have you?) I know that natural gas has no carbon-14. But we should still tell the facts! Let the chips fall where they may. Why do you want to suppress the fact that the carbon-14 was elevated? How do you explain it? Eric Kvaalen (talk) 18:56, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
When material is disputed, the onus is on the party trying to add the content to get consensus for it. Anyway, this is too much weight to give to a fringe viewpoint. And these asserted facts that you feel should be mentioned appear to be false. The C14 claim, even if it is true (and I doubt that) it doesn't seem to support any particular theory. The radon issue is even worse. It seems to be a muddled reading of Figure 10 in this paper, which does document four hour radon excursions in the atmosphere around Tunguska, which were apparently caused by meteorological factors (trapping by nighttime temperature inversions) not geophysical ones, certainly not any change in the rate of radon emission from the soil. So, while I've so far tolerated a brief mention that a few people aren't on board with the impact explanation, I feel like including this content would be at best drawing undeserved attention to a fringe viewpoint, and probably would be stating counterfactual assertions as well. I'm not even certain that dissenting viewpoints deserve mention at all, since they're all about 13 years out of date, since the radon claim appears to be completely bogus, and the C14 claim doesn't seem to be otherwise verifiable and doesn't seem to match the model proposed for it. New Scientist magazine might have just had a slow news day. Geogene (talk) 03:49, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
I have found the papers on the carbon-14. The first is Possible Anti-Matter Content of the Tunguska Meteor of 1908 (1965), showing a ~1% extra carbon-14 level in wood produced in 1909. Later there's a paper, Effect of the Tunguska Meteor and Sunspots on Radiocarbon in Tree Rings (1967), analyzing a different tree, and finding no unusually high carbon-14, though the authors admit they don't understand a certain correction used in the first paper. Another paper, Tunguska's comet and non-thermal 14C production in the atmosphere (1977) tries to explain an increase in carbon-14 by the idea that the Tunguska event was caused by a comet but the fireball was so hot that it produced neutrons. All these papers were in Nature, so I don't think we should call it all "fringe science" and sweep it under the rug.
I have looked at the paper you mention on the radon, and I agree that it's apparently nothing unusual.
There are other things that I don't understand, on the basis of a bolide. Why did people hear a repeating explosion, like artillery fire?
Eric Kvaalen (talk) 13:40, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
Weird stuff occasionally appears in places like Science and Nature. Those are "breakthrough" journals so a lot of what goes through there doesn't fully represent "truth" for our purposes here. What you find there is "true" in the sense that it's speculative arguments, by learned people, that have passed methodological reviews stringent enough that they're fit for skeptical consumption by other learned experts. That's not necessarily the same truth standard for an encyclopedia, which should be mostly about consensus viewpoints and only the most notable minority viewpoints. Journals are usable, but textbooks and literature reviews are best for that reason, because they focus less on novel results. I don't think those specific papers carry enough weight to be included in the article, and they don't tend to represent a coherent, single minority viewpoint but more of loose odds and ends that came about from various investigations, some of which may not have been fully explained. The whole point in looking for a C14 anomaly was that somebody was skeptical that an impact model alone could supply enough energy, so there was interest in constraining an upper limit on how much antimatter could have been in the Tunguska meteoroid. The mainstream view today is that antimatter doesn't accumulate in our corner of the universe, so this limit is 0; while impact models account for all the energy of the explosion without a need for chemical or nuclear contributions. I'm not sure what temperature you need to transfer neutrons in the atmosphere but it must be staggering. It also bothers me that June is midway through the year and it takes time to distribute that carbon-14 around the northern hemisphere. I don't know why some witness(es) thought they heard repeating shots. I could speculate without invoking an exotic explanation. There might have been multiple bodies exploding, there might be some kind of acoustical phenomenon. I don't know much about it, but I think there's a corpus of literature out there on sound propagation studies from large explosions, and I could imagine multiple propagation pathways from a sound source to an observer, with a line of sight pathway but also with ground reflections and refraction through various atmospheric layers with different densities. An observer at the right distance might hear the same explosion more than once. Eyewitnesses themselves are also notoriously unreliable on questions of fact, especially when they're startled. Geogene (talk) 17:02, 9 October 2017 (UTC)