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Another 22/01/20 What you’ve done to “Tunguska meteorite” if it had fallen in our days

the Explosion of an unidentified cosmic body, which occurred on 17 June 1908 in a sparsely populated region of the Russian taiga, did not cause serious consequences. What would happen if such a catastrophe would have happened today?

What was it?

Nikolay Vasilev, in the past Deputy Director for science of the Tunguska reserve, once said: “today We know quite a lot about how it was, but we still don’t know what it was.” What scientists know about the crash in the area of Podkamennaya Tunguska?

it is Established that 30 June (17 June old style) 1908 approx 7 hours 14 minutes, on the territory of the Evenk district of Krasnoyarsk region 65 km North-West from the trading post of Vanavara on the height of 7-10 km exploded an object. Its capacity, according to various estimates, ranged from 15 to 50 megatons. It is at least 700 times the force of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

the Consequence of the Tunguska explosion was the destruction of more than 2000 sq. km of surrounding forest, which is comparable to the area of modern Moscow. The explosion damaged about 80 million trees and killed thousands of animals and birds in a radius of several tens of kilometers. The shock wave was so strong that twice circled the globe. Research stations in the British Isles recorded a sharp jump in atmospheric pressure. Magnetic storm that began shortly after the explosion, raged for about 5 hours. In Western Europe and Siberia within three days stood an unusually bright night.

Official information about the victims. However, according to eyewitnesses, the victims of the explosion were at least three people, many received injuries of varying severity. People mainly suffered from the blast wave and forest fires that started due to the release of superhigh temperatures.

the Scientific world is still prelagaet many explanations of the Tunguska phenomenon, not stopping on any one theory. For example, a member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, astronomer Igor Zotkin, in one of his articles for 1970 gave a description of 77 known hypotheses of what happened on the morning of 17 June 1908. Soviet mineralogist Leonid Kulik, the first of the scientists, caught in the disaster area, suggested that such effects could cause the fall of a stone or iron meteorite. However, no fragments of the celestial body was never found.

later calculations showed that the meteorite that caused the destruction is fixed, had to weigh at least 5 million tons. He could not have fully evaporate? As an explanation, was an extended version of the emission from the earth large quantities of methane hydrate, but the traces of volcanic activity in the area of the Podkamennaya Tunguska river was observed. Today support the largest number of scientists is the theory of the explosion of the cometary material with low mass density, consisting mainly of ice and cosmic dust, which completely burned when entering the atmosphere.

the Term “nuclear winter”

today know the approximate trajectory of the Tunguska body. Scientists drew attention to the fact that if the object entered the Earth’s atmosphere on 4 hours later he could explode over Smolensk, Novgorod Veliky, or even St. Petersburg. This means that all the wooden buildings in these cities would be burned and stone buildings would receive tremendous damage. The account of victims would go at least tens of thousands.

And what would be expected if the outer body is comparable to the Tunguska would have fallen in our days? Interestingly, in the event of a disaster at the same place, near the Podkamennaya Tunguska river, the consequences would be almost identical. The fact that in the beginning of XXI century the closest settlement to the accident site is the village of Vanavara, which is located at a distance of 65 kilometers. The nearest major city of Krasnoyarsk removed from the wasthe alleged falling object on 700 kilometers.

In Vanavara, whose population today is 3,000, one would expect about a hundred injured, shattered Windows, and turn off for an indefinite period of electric power, telecommunications and cellular networks. Krasnoyarsk residents probably would only feel a small vibration from the shock wave.

it’s another thing blast over a major city, even at the height of 10 kilometers. In this case, the consequences would have been catastrophic. The President of the International astronomical Union, the Frenchman Andre Danjon as early as 1958 stated that the fall of such a facility on the country’s air defense system could lead to “nuclear winter”.

Experts from NASA, using modern technology, was able to estimate the size of the object that crashed in 1908 in the territory of Eastern Siberia. In the calculations they took into account not only the scale of the devastation, but also preserved the testimony of witnesses. It turned out that the size of the body that devastated a forest area comparable to the area of modern Hong Kong, even more than previously thought.

According to the Americans, the diameter of the meteorite was not less than 75 meters, the height of the explosion to 17 kilometers, and the force of the detonation of 20 megatons. The depth of destruction of the forest in some places reached 12 km away. If such a body had exploded over Hong Kong, the victims (thousands) and destruction would engulf the entire city. The vast majority of survivors would be immediately lost consciousness and received a very serious injury, conclude the experts of NASA.

To call ready

of Course the consequences of the fall of a large celestial body to Earth can be judged only hypothetically. To rely on the same examples is not necessary, but you can draw a parallel with the fall of the smaller objects of cosmic origin. A similar event occurred on 15 February 2013, when the sky over Chelyabinsk as a result of inhibition exploded fragment of a small asteroid.

According to the encapsulationYu of the Institute of astronomy of RAS, the energy of a sound wave made up of 100-200 kilotons, which corresponds to a power of approximately 5-10 atomic bombs dropped on Japanese cities in August 1945. Heavenly, the car was destroyed at a height of about 20 km, and its estimated weight is 10 tons, the fall speed of 18 km/s. Chelyabinsk meteorite in the power of the explosion was the second after the Tunguska. Its largest fragment, weighing 570 kg fell into the lake Chebarkul, raising a five-meter column of water dust.

According to official data, the consequences of the fall of the Chelyabinsk meteorite injured 1491 people, most of them was diagnosed with cuts from broken glass. In the vicinity of the city the explosion had damaged more than 4,700 buildings – houses, hospitals, schools. The greatest damage from the disaster occurred in the town, Kopeysk, yemanzhelinsk, Korkino, Chelyabinsk and the village of Etkul. Damage was estimated at one billion rubles.

the power of the collapse of the Chelyabinsk bolide had about a thousand times less than in the case of the explosion over the Podkamennaya Tunguska. Experts have suggested that if on February 15, 2013 in Chelyabinsk region meteorite fell comparable to Tunguska, all high-rise buildings “developed” like a house of cards, the number of victims was even afraid to think.

How real is the threat of a repetition of the Tunguska catastrophe? A meteorite or asteroid about 50 meters in diameter falling on our planet about every 700-800 years. But no one can guarantee that this will not happen in the coming decades. However, scientists rely on the warning system from the aggressors, which is actively being developed in the bowels of NASA.

in 1990-ies the Americans have successfully coped with the task of tracking celestial bodies with a diameter bigger than 1 kilometer (one of those 65 million years ago killed the dinosaurs). Their next task is to fix the objects with a diameter exceeding 100 meters, which was nicknamed “murderers regions”, and only then you can think about how to keep track of the cars class of the Tunguskath meteorite, called “killer cities”.

for example, the tracking system is space managed on the distant approaches to “catch” potentially dangerous for the Earth object. How to neutralize him? Developed a lot of ways: destruction of an asteroid ballistic missile, changing its orbit using a rocket engine installation, and even undermining, as it was shown in the movie “Armageddon”.

meanwhile, the European space Agency (ESA) has increased the chances of a collision with Earth asteroid 2006 QV89 that can cross the orbit of our planet at the end of September 2019. Its size is estimated at 50 meters, which is comparable to the Tunguska meteorite. The probability of asteroid 2006 QV89 at the moment 1 in 7000. If this just “blow over”, in the catalogue of ESA is 850 potentially dangerous for the Earth objects.

Taras Repin

© Russian Seven

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