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No. 139: Jan-Feb 2002

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Tunguska: An Inside Job?

Virtually all speculation about the 1908 Tunguska Event assumes an external cause: a meteor, a comet, an asteroid, or even the accidental explosion of an alien spaceship. A recent meeting of Tunguska experts in Russia looked down rather than up for Tunguska's initiating phenomenon.

In this open-minded review, two little-publicized but highly pertinent Tunguska observations were discussed.

  1. The catastrophe had five centers of destruction rather than one.
  2. At the Tunguska site are many large root stumps, not yet rotted away, that cannot be linked to any pits associated with their origin. These stumps were apparently blown out of the ground and hurled dozens of meters from where they stood prior to the Event.

Next to be considered were the unappreciated similarities between the Tunguska Event and the 1883 explosion of Krakatoa.

The four bright nights in Europe and western Asia, straddling 30 June 1908, are remimiscent of the 1883 Krakatoa outburst, they ask for transient scatterers in the upper atmosphere, above 500 km, at heights which only methane and hydrogen are light enough to reach in sufficient quantity. Fast-rising natural gas has been repeatedly detected in recent years, in the form of "mystery clouds"---by airplane pilots---and indirectly as pockmarks on 6% of the sea floor. In other words, Tunguska might well have been---not an extraterrestrial impact---but a simultaneous outburst and detonation of natural gas from five closely spaced vents.

The report continues with pro-andcon discussions, concluding that this outrageous hypothesis cannot be dismissed!

(Kundt, Wolfgang; "Tunguska 2001," Meteorite, 7:25, November 2001.)

Mirror matter is another new candidate as Tunguska's cause. This and other radical hypotheses, like the methane blowouts mentioned above, cannot be rejected perfunctorily because, even after 75 years and 35 expeditions to the mosquito-dominated Tunguska site, scientists have not uncovered any convincing evidence that a comet, meteorite, or asteroid was the culprit.

R. Foot, University of Melbourne, has pointed out that, although mirror matter is widely believed to interact with normal matter only through gravitation, recent experiments suggest that mirror-matter electrons and protons may carry miniscule electric charges---just enough to cause a mirror-matter projectile to explode at a high altitude thereby creating the havoc observed in the normal matter exposed below at the Tunguska site. Of more than passing interest is the possibility that thousands of tons of mirror matter may permeate the Tunguska terrain to great depths---none of it detectable by any of our modern instrumentation.

(Chown, Marcus; "What Lies Beneath?" New Scientist, p. 17, July 28, 2001.)

From Science Frontiers #139, Jan-Feb 2002. � 2001 William R. Corliss

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