In the early morning hours of June 8th 1908 a huge object is entering Earth’s atmosphere. The object begins to burn and produces a trail of light that is 800 km long. At the trading post of Vanavera the Tungus tribesmen and the Russian fur traders look scared to the sky. The object keeps on flying and explodes on an altitude of 7.2 km, 92 km north of Vanavera. The explosion lights up the sky, even in London people notice it. So what was it?
When the first researchers came there, in 1927 (19 years after it happened!) there were trees that were just smashed against the ground because of the huge pressure wave. But some trees, exactly underneath the explosion were still standing. Those trees were dead also and had no branches. The leader of that very first expedition was Leonid Kulik. He was born in 1883 in Estonia, what would become a part of the Soviet Union. He served in the military during the Russian-Japanese war and World War I. Because of revolutionary activities he was in prison a couple of times. After WW I he began to work at a museum an started to spent his time with something new, the study of Meteorites.
In 1921 Kulik was charged with the task of locating and examining Meteorites that had fallen down in the Soviet Union. That was the way how he came in touch with the Tunguska event. He started to collect newspaper articles about this event and found some really strange things. There were stories that complete herds of reindeers were blown away by the blast.
Leonid Kulik started his expedition in spring, to be there before the region became a swamp infested with mosquitos. The first travelled with the Trans-Siberian Railway, from Leningrad to the remote station of Taishet.
From there they used horse drawn sleds to reach Keshma for more supplies. From there it took them a long time to get to Vanavera, a small village located at the Stony Tunguska river. It was the last outpost of civilization before they would enter the swampy woods were Kulik knew of that the meteorite had fallen. Kulik hired a guide named Ilya Potapovich. The people of the village didn’t like to talk about the event because they thought that it was the god Ogdy who did this. They won’t go to the site, they feared to be cursed by the god. The first attempt to reach the site was not a success, they had to return to Vanavera because of a heavy snow storm.
The second attempt started better. On April the 18th they went to the hut of a local herdsman named Okhchen. His hut was located at the Chambe river. It took them three days to reach it. Kulik and his assistant were suffering from infections and lack of proper food.
The last steps
They left their horses at the hut of Okchen and loaded all their supplies on a reindeer. They followed the Chambe for two days until they came to the Makirta river were they saw the first signs of the explosion. They kept on moving north, into the center of the devastation.
Kulik noticed that the tops of the trees were burnt by a sudden flash. They often had to hack their way trough the branches of fallen and dead trees. The scientists speculated what had caused this and it had to be the superheated atmosphere that the asteroid had pushed away. They continued for two more days until his guide and Okchen didn’t want to move on, they were frightened of their god, Ogdy, that he would punish them. Kulik had to return to Vanavara and hire new guides.
Back to Tunguska
On April 30th Kulik had two new guides and he was able to go to the Tunguska site again. This time they built rafts to be faster at their destination. The last miles had to be done by foot. On May 20th they finally arrived in the devastated forest. Kulik sets up camp near the mouth of the Churgimo river.
He believed that the crater he sought must be very close, in the what he called “Southern Swamp”. From this camp he made several expeditions until he had circled the entire area. He found out the all the trees pointed outwards, so he searched the center. He expected to find a crater, but he found standing trees instead.
The "telephone poles"
In the middle of the whole area stood a group of trees, stripped from their branches but still standing. They looked like telephone poles. In the very center he found peat marsh that was changed into a fantastic landscape. There were also several holes that changed in diameter ranging from 3 to 15 meter. Kulik photographed everything very carefully and then decided to return with digging equipment to find the meteorite, he thought that it was located underneath him. After nine days he returned in Vanavara. He went back to the academy and could convince even the most sceptical colleagues with his photographs and his documentation.
End of Kulik
Kulik led two other expeditions to Tunguska in 1929 and in 1938. He was never able to find proof for his meteor theory. In 1942 he dies of Typhus in a prison camp of the Nazis. The expeditions of Kulik produced more questions then answers so many would follow in his footsteps.
So what really happened in Tunguska? Was it a Meteorite, an Alien Spaceship, a Black hole? I will explain every theory.
Meteorite enters atmosphere
Meteorite starts to fall apart
The meteorite explodes
The pressure wave knocks down the trees
7.2 km above the surface and the blast knocks down all trees. This theory is the most accepted because of all the evidence for it. People saw a huge fireball and heard a loud bang. There is only one problem with this theory, there are witnesses that saw that the fireball changed course several times, like it was controlled by an unexplained force. The theory was first mentioned by Krinov, who had traveled to the site with one of Kuliks expeditions. But because of the second World War there was no time or money available to continue investigating the Tunguska site. Christopher Chyba, Kevin Zahnle and Paul Thomas used computer models to calculate that a stony asteroid with a size of about 30 meters diameter could have caused a disaster like the one that happened on that morning in June. But that still doesn’t explain the eyewitnesses who claim that the “meteorite” changed it’s course.
The Alien Spaceship:
In the second World War the world met the most devastating weapon ever made by man, the nuclear bomb. At that point some scientists began to think that such an explosion could have occurred at Tunguska. The plants that showed abnormal growth, the mushroom shaped cloud, it all appeared at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
An alien spaceship?
Those are the places where the two only nuclear bombs ever used in a war detonated. It was only a logical step to consider that it may have been a similar explosion at Tunguska.
Anti-Matter is very strange stuff and very rare as far as we know of. Anti-Matter is a negative charge at the sub-atomic level. So when matter and anti-matter meet they destroy each other in a blast of energy, like light. So imagine that a ball of antimatter enters our atmosphere in the form of a meteorite it meets only “matter” and it explodes. The explosion itself would look like that of an Nuclear Explosion.
The last theory is that of a black hole. Normally they are the result from a collapsed star. Certain theories suggest that “mini-Black Holes” where created by the beginning of the universe and that they now are floating through it. This theory is weirdest of all and almost impossible. The theory suggests that a mini-Black-Hole entered our Atmosphere and then crushed into earth. It explains the sightings but there should have been a crater.