Thursday, 24 May 2012

Have scientists finally found fragments of the meteorite which set off the mysterious 1908 Tunguska catastrophe?



At 7.17am on June 30, 1908, an explosion like a detonating hydrogen bomb erupted in the forests of Siberia - and until now, scientists have offered no conclusive explanation for the event.

Now Italian scientists claim to have found chunks of a meteorite which might have caused the blast - from seismic and magnetic scans of nearby Lake Cheko.

Lake Cheko, they claim is an impact crater for the blast - which devastated nearly 1,000 square miles of forest and was detected hundreds of miles away.

'This “Tunguska Event” is probably related to the impact with the Earth of a cosmic body that exploded about three to six miles above ground, releasing in the atmosphere 10-15 megatons of energy,' say the researchers.

Fragments of the impacting body have never been found, and its nature (comet or asteroid) is still a matter of debate.

'We report here results from a magnetic and seismic reflection study of a small lake, Lake Cheko, located about 8 km NW of the inferred explosion epicenter, that was proposed to be an impact crater left by a fragment of the Tunguska Cosmic Body,' say the researchers, from the University of Bologna in a paper published in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems.

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