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Tunguska Event: Siberia 1908 Mysterious Explosion - Black Hole? UFO Crash?

Updated on February 8, 2015
Tunguska Event Impact
Tunguska Event Impact

The Big Blast

June 30th 1908.

At 7:17 am a deafening blast rocks the Tungus area of Central Siberia. Suddenly the devastating shock wave knocks you off your feet, shattering the windows of your home even though you live hundreds of kilometers from the epicenter. You get up and look outside in shock to see blinding lights and feel an immense heat burning your shirt to your flesh.

Bizarre lights graced the sky and were reportedly seen as far away as Europe. Nearly all trees were blown down within a 32 kilometer radius, scorched, with the bark missing. What is so baffling is that we know exactly where and when it took place, but the cause of the bizarre and mysterious occurrence 100 years later remains unsolved. It is known as the Tunguska Event.

What caused it? The mysterious allows plenty of room for the imagination. Was it just a meteorite? Could it have been the result of some supernatural power? An alien spaceship crash? Antimatter? Possibly a black hole passing through Earth?? Or was it an asteroid, or a comet? The list goes on and on.

Trees affected by the explosion
Trees affected by the explosion

It cannot be said for sure which, if any, is the correct explanation for the Tunguska Event, but one thing is certain. The sheer wonder and awe produced by the obscurity of the event is sure to infect any who become acquainted with this great mystery. To get a bigger picture of exactly what happened that day, let us read what local people in the area had to say about it.

Eyewitness Accounts:

  • Sibir newspaper, July 2, 1908: "On the 17th of June*, around 9 a.m. in the morning, we observed an unusual natural occurrence. In the north Karelinski village [200 verst, or about 130 miles, north of Kirensk] the peasants saw to the north west, rather high above the horizon, some strangely bright (impossible to look at) bluish-white heavenly body, which for 10 minutes moved downwards. The body appeared as a "pipe", i.e. a cylinder. The sky was cloudless, only a small dark cloud was observed in the general direction of the bright body. It was hot and dry. As the body neared the ground (forest), the bright body seemed to smudge, and then turned into a giant billow of black smoke, and a loud knocking (not thunder) was heard, as if large stones were falling, or artillery was fired. All buildings shook. At the same time the cloud began emitting flames of uncertain shapes. All villagers were stricken with panic and took to the streets, women cried, thinking it was the end of the world. The author of these lines was meantime in the forest about 6 verst (about four miles) north of Kirensk, and heard to the north east some kind of artillery barrage, that repeated in intervals of 15 minutes at least 10 times. In Kirensk in a few buildings in the walls facing north east window glass shook."
  • S. Semenov, 65 kilometers away during the event [Recorded 1930]: "I suddenly saw that directly to the north, over Onkoul's Tunguska Road, the sky split in two and fire appeared high and wide over the forest. The split in the sky grew larger, and the entire northern side was covered with fire. At that moment I became so hot that I couldn't bear it, as if my shirt was on fire; from the northern side, where the fire was, came strong heat. I wanted to tear off my shirt and throw it down, but then the sky shut closed, and a strong thump sounded, and I was thrown a few metres. I lost my senses for a moment, but then my wife ran out and led me to the house. After that such noise came, as if rocks were falling or cannons were firing, the earth shook, and when I was on the ground, I pressed my head down, fearing rocks would smash it. When the sky opened up, hot wind raced between the houses, like from cannons, which left traces in the ground like pathways, and it damaged some crops. Later we saw that many windows were shattered, and in the barn a part of the iron lock snapped."
  • Krasnoyaretz newspaper, July 13, 1908: "Kezhemskoe village. On the 17th an unusual atmospheric event was observed. At 7:43 the noise akin to a strong wind was heard. Immediately afterwards a horrific thump sounded, followed by an earthquake which literally shook the buildings, as if they were hit by a large log or a heavy rock. The first thump was followed by a second, and then a third. Then the interval between the first and the third thumps were accompanied by an unusual underground rattle, similar to a railway upon which dozens of trains are travelling at the same time. Afterwards for 5 to 6 minutes an exact likeness of artillery fire was heard: 50 to 60 salvoes in short, equal intervals, which got progressively weaker. After 1.5–2 minutes after one of the "barrages" six more thumps were heard, like cannon firing, but individual, loud and accompanied by tremors. The sky, at the first sight, appeared to be clear. There was no wind and no clouds. However upon closer inspection to the north, i.e. where most of the thumps were heard, a kind of an ashen cloud was seen near the horizon which kept getting smaller and more transparent and possibly by around 2–3 p.m. completely disappeared."
  • Shanyagir tribe member Chuchan [Recorded 1926]: "We had a hut by the river with my brother Chekaren. We were sleeping. Suddenly we both woke up at the same time. Somebody shoved us. We heard whistling and felt strong wind. Chekaren said, 'Can you hear all those birds flying overhead?' We were both in the hut, couldn't see what was going on outside. Suddenly, I got shoved again, this time so hard I fell into the fire. I got scared. Chekaren got scared too. We started crying out for father, mother, brother, but no one answered. There was noise beyond the hut, we could hear trees falling down. Chekaren and I got out of our sleeping bags and wanted to run out, but then the thunder struck. This was the first thunder. The Earth began to move and rock, wind hit our hut and knocked it over. My body was pushed down by sticks, but my head was in the clear. Then I saw a wonder: trees were falling, the branches were on fire, it became mighty bright, how can I say this, as if there was a second sun, my eyes were hurting, I even closed them. It was like what the Russians call lightning. And immediately there was a loud thunderclap. This was the second thunder. The morning was sunny, there were no clouds, our Sun was shining brightly as usual, and suddenly there came a second one! Chekaren and I had some difficulty getting out from under the remains of our hut. Then we saw that above, but in a different place, there was another flash, and loud thunder came. This was the third thunder strike. Wind came again, knocked us off our feet, struck against the fallen trees. We looked at the fallen trees, watched the tree tops get snapped off, watched the fires. Suddenly Chekaren yelled 'Look up' and pointed with his hand. I looked there and saw another flash, and it made another thunder. But the noise was less than before. This was the fourth strike, like normal thunder. Now I remember well there was also one more thunder strike, but it was small, and somewhere far away, where the Sun goes to sleep."

These testimonies definitely evoke even more amazement about the event; perhaps the descriptions brought to mind imagery of a meteor or comet. Lets have a look at the most popular explanations.

Tunguska Event affected area 19 years after the blast
Tunguska Event affected area 19 years after the blast


Meteoroids are nothing new to the planet; they enter Earth's atmosphere every day. But the vast majority burn out completely or explode high up in the atmosphere before hitting Earth due to the heat created by their fall. What the meteoroid theory suggests is that the object falling must have exploded a certain distance from the ground, creating a massive shock wave but no crater. Although this theory seems feasible and more reasonable than other theories, it is yet to be conclusively proven. There is also a theory stating that the believed meteoroid did not explode above ground but actually did make an impact, forming what came to be the nearby Lake Cheko although this explanation is not as popular.
In 1965 it was suggested that an object consisting of antimatter fell through the atmosphere and caused the explosion, being annihilated on contact with the ordinary matter on Earth. This theory is supported on the fact that there was no left over material from the object, and the apparent lack of a mushroom cloud which would have been present had it been an ordinary chemical or atomic explosion.
The alien theory states that a spaceship, attempting landing on Earth, was somehow damaged in its decent through the atmosphere. It tried to attempt a landing but it was too late; its atomic fuel creating a large nuclear explosion some distance above Earth's surface. The theories backing comes from evidence that certain aspects of the event, such as the pattern of destruction of the trees and mutations of plants in the area, are consistent with a nuclear explosion. This theory, however, leaves a lot in the air.
Black Hole
In 1973 a theory was proposed that the Tunguska Event was caused by a small black hole passing through the Earth. Although a fascinating idea, the black hole theory does not have much basis, as if it did indeed pass through the Earth, then it would have had to exit at some point and no such event has been recorded.

As of now a cause for the Tunguska Event is not universally accepted. Although the most probable cause is the first explanation stated here - the Meteoroid.- it still remains a subject of wonderment that excites scientists and acquaintances alike. However if the cause IS proven in the future it may remove the mystery from the event, but the awe and sheer reverence of nature's sublimity will surely remain.
The Tunguska Event will continue to be one of the great spectacles of recent history.

Tesla's "Death Ray"


Update - Nikola Tesla Experiments

After publishing this hub I came across various sources providing the theory that the 1908 Tunguska Explosion was caused by Tesla's "death ray" experiments. After receiving a comment which mentioned this theory I decided to update the article with what I believe to be the most convincing explanation. (I mean just look at this conniving bastard!)

To read more about this theory and Tesla, check out these links:


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    • pocono foothills profile image

      John Fisher 3 years ago from Easton, Pennsylvania

      @D Shannahan-Have you read the theory that his event was caused by Nikolai Tesla testing his death ray machine?