Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Details Emerging On Tunguska Impact Crater

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the closing-in-on-a-big-boom dept.

Space 164

#space_on_irc.freenode.net (Dusty) writes "Lake Cheko in Siberia has been noted as the probable crater of the 1908 Siberian Tunguska event. This news was discussed here in December, but details on the crater were scant. Now a new paper written by Luca Gasperini, Enrico Bonatti, and Giuseppe Longo (the same team in Bologna, Italy that made news in December) has a horde of new details on the supposed crater. The team visited Lake Cheko complete with their own catamaran and completed ground-penetrating radar maps, side-scanning sonar images, aerial images, and some sample collection of Lake Cheko. Intriguingly, they also imaged an object under the sediment that may be a fragment of the impacting body. Their paper (PDF) includes a lot more details including images, side-scanning sonar image, a 3-D view of the lake, a morphobathymetric map. It's an interesting read, these dudes are good. They plan to return this summer and drill the core if weather permits, hopefully answering the question once and for all." The same team also has a more discursive article in the current Scientific American that includes some detail on the working conditions in the Siberian summer. Think: mosquitos.

cancel ×

164 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

First Impact.. (5, Funny)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559075)

err, post I mean

Go Slashdot !!! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23559515)

This is what I'm talking about!

No more of that crap from idle on the front page, this is what you should be posting! This makes my geekiness tingle, this is what keeps me coming back. Please, for the love of God, more of the same!

Think twinkie (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23559091)

...thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds.

Re:Think twinkie (1)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559491)

That's a big Twinkie.

Re:Think twinkie (4, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560277)

The Tunguska blast may well have been the biggest interdimensional crossrip up until the Gozer incident of 1984.

Re:Think twinkie (1, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559841)

As long as dogs and cats aren't living together, we should be cool.

Re:Think twinkie (3, Funny)

Molochi (555357) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560283)

Just remember to answer, "Yes, I am a god."

whoosh... (4, Funny)

Thornburg (264444) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559131)


BOOOM!!!

What else do we need to know about the Tunguska event?

Ok, maybe it would make a cool short film by some of animation whiz. Preferably starring the squirrel from the Ice Age shorts.

We can check it for serial numbers :) (5, Insightful)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559327)

Seriously, the smart bet seems to be that event was caused by an asteroid strike. But until someone gathers some hard data, that's still only a hypothesis.

What self respecting scientist wouldn't go and examine the evidence? Because if it wasn't an asteroid strike...

Re:We can check it for serial numbers :) (5, Funny)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559867)

What self respecting scientist wouldn't go and examine the evidence? Because if it wasn't an asteroid strike...
... they may accidentally defrost Megatron!

Re:We can check it for serial numbers :) (4, Funny)

phat_cartman (1255042) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560649)

What self respecting scientist wouldn't go and examine the evidence?

I initially read that as "What self-replicating scientist...". After that, the jokes really write themselves...

Re:We can check it for serial numbers :) (2, Interesting)

NeilTheStupidHead (963719) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561909)

If I remember correctly, most of the models depict an asteroid exploding in mid-air. Certainly, a great deal of the debris would end up on the ground, but falling debris would have a very different impact (no pun intended, unless it's funny) than a single large strike.

Could have been a comet (3, Informative)

Solr_Flare (844465) | more than 6 years ago | (#23562607)

Well, there is little doubt by any reputable scientist that it was some form of extra-terrestrial impact, what has remained in contention for a long time was what exactly impacted at Tunguska.

One side insists it was an Asteroid, but the material that would normally be present at an asteroid impact just isn't there. Others argue it was a comet, but analysis of comets in the last decade or so has put some real doubt into that theory as well.

At this point they pretty much have almost everything else worked out, from the velocity whatever it was had, where it traveled, where it likely went kaboom. They just don't know what the make-up of the object was. This report goes a long way towards proving exactly what the celestial object was.

C'mon editors! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23559141)

The team visited Lake Cheko complete with their own catamaran

Is it really that hard to spell 'cameraman' correctly? C'mon editors! Get on it!

Re:C'mon editors! (0, Redundant)

Thornburg (264444) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559177)

The team visited Lake Cheko complete with their own catamaran

Is it really that hard to spell 'cameraman' correctly? C'mon editors! Get on it!
I assume this cowardly post was supposed to be funny, but just in case you really are that uninformed, a catamaran is a kind of boat.

See wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catamaran [wikipedia.org]

Re:C'mon editors! (5, Funny)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559597)

Nah, funny is spelling it "catamoron"

Re:C'mon editors! (1)

fracai (796392) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559719)

hehe

catamaroon

Re:C'mon editors! (0, Redundant)

Mephistro (1248898) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560001)


I have a catamaran, you insensitive clods!

Re:C'mon editors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23560237)

I *am* an insensitive clod, you dumb bastards!

Signed,
    Reflector-T

Re:C'mon editors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23560391)

I *am* an insensitive clod, you dumb bastards!

I am a dumb bastard, you xfvekw lefnveke!

Re:C'mon editors! (-1, Redundant)

fracai (796392) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559731)

heh

catamaroon

Re:C'mon editors! (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560433)

It's spelled catamoran over on Fark [fark.com] .

Re:C'mon editors! (2, Funny)

Dramacrat (1052126) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560565)

Katamari?

Re:C'mon editors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23560897)

Katamari?

I think a katamari causing the crater is one of the most reasonable explanations I've heard yet.

Re:C'mon editors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23560321)

I'll bet you're a real blast at parties.

Re:C'mon editors! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23559601)

>The team visited Lake Cheko complete with their own catamaran

Is it really that hard to spell 'cameraman' correctly? C'mon editors! Get on it!


Catamaran is correct.

That's because: In former Russia, your Tunguska's got a catamaran.

Re:C'mon editors! (4, Funny)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559761)

In Russia Soviet, a cat has got your Tongueska.

Re:C'mon editors! (4, Funny)

longacre (1090157) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560399)

Sorry, Soviet Russia was not formed until 1922. Tunguska occurred 14 years too early for this meme.

Re:C'mon editors! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23560687)

Tunguska occurred 14 years too early for this meme.

It's all "meme, meme, meme" with you, isn't it?

Re:C'mon editors! (5, Funny)

mazarin5 (309432) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560887)

In Czarist Russia, meme is too early for you!

Re:C'mon editors! (1)

jeremyds (456206) | more than 6 years ago | (#23562177)

I wish I could mod you up past +5. That was the funniest Soviet Russia joke thread I've seen in a long time.

Re:C'mon editors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23561339)

A lame version of the funnier GP joke gets modded higher. Maybe it's just because the GP joke requires some thought.

Re:C'mon editors! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23559727)

It's a sailboat, you dumb bastard!

Re:C'mon editors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23562185)

I guess the mod didn't see Mall Rats...

Re:C'mon editors! (1)

DrVomact (726065) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561795)

Oh...I assumed it was "catamite". Who was their cameraman, riding in the catamaran. Say that three times fast.

don't ruin my mental imagery (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561931)

it was a lake after all. i figured a group of fanatical scientists, so hell bent on getting a catamaran to an isolated siberian lake they hired gangs of locals to backbreakingly carry the thing over the tundra for hundreds of miles before the short warm period was over, resulting in the deaths of dozens due to dysentry, resulting in revolts from the workers in the middle of nowhere, driving the fantatical scientists mad with desperation

something like werner herzog's fanatical devotion to making fitzcarraldo [wikipedia.org] :

In his autobiographical film Portrait Werner Herzog, Herzog has stated that the film's spectacular production was partly inspired by the engineering feats of ancient standing stones. The film was an incredible ordeal, and famously involved moving a 320-ton steamship over a hill without the use of special effects. Herzog believes that no one has ever performed a similar feat in history, and likely never will again, calling himself "Conquistador of the Useless".[4] Scenes were also shot onboard the ship while it crashed through rapids, injuring three of the six people involved in the filming. Two full-size ships were created for the making of the film.[citation needed]

The casting of the film was also quite difficult. Jason Robards was originally cast in the title role, but he became ill and was forced to leave. Herzog then considered casting Jack Nicholson, and even playing Fitzcarraldo himself, before Klaus Kinski accepted the role. By that point, forty percent of shooting was complete and Herzog insisted on a total reshoot with Kinski. Mick Jagger was originally cast as Fitzcarraldo's assistant Wilbur, but his shooting schedule expired and he departed to tour with the Rolling Stones. Herzog dropped Jagger's character from the script and reshot the film from the beginning. Though none of the major cast members spoke English natively, the original soundtrack was recorded in English, as it was the only language common to the lead actors.[citation needed]

Klaus Kinski himself was a major source of tension, as he fought with Herzog and other members of the crew and greatly upset the native extras. In his documentary My Best Fiend, Herzog says that one of the native chiefs offered to murder Kinski for him, but that he declined because he needed Kinski to complete filming.

Les Blank's documentary Burden of Dreams, about the production of the film, documents these many hardships. Blank's footage, which also appears in Herzog's Portrait Werner Herzog and My Best Fiend contains some of the only surviving footage of Robards and Jagger in Fitzcarraldo and many scenes documenting the ship's journey over the mountain, along with several episodes of Kinski's raving.


but then you go and ruin all my beautiful cinematic mental imagery of the movie "tunguska: the all consuming obsession"... by pointing out its just a spellchecker failure

poopiehead ;-(

SciFi movine waiting to happen! (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559207)

The object is a space ship!

Re:SciFi movine waiting to happen! (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559355)

The object is a space ship!

Umm,... that's been done before [imdb.com] . ;-)

Re:SciFi movine waiting to happen! (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559499)

Umm,... that's been

Yes, many times over. I haven't seen Crystal Skull yet, but can name "Quatermass and the Pit aka 2million years to earth," "Sphere" with Dustin Hoffman, lets not forget "The Abyss" to name a few.

However, it could make for a topical SciFi with some current events.

Re:SciFi movine waiting to happen! (2)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561367)

I Want To Believe!

Very interesting article (4, Insightful)

Tisha_AH (600987) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559281)

I have been following this team's progress with their investigation since it first came to light last year on the slash. They present a compelling case that there may be an impact body that created the lake.

I can't wait and see their results from core drilling the lake.

There have been several other impacts that were recorded by mankind (one in Estonia, recorded by Pliny the Younger).

The Tunguska event could be mis-interpreted as a nuclear strike if it were to happen today over a populated area. We need to increase our understanding of the frequency and effects of bolide impacts upon our planet.

Re:Very interesting article (2, Funny)

cavtroop (859432) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559331)

We need to increase our understanding of the frequency and effects of bolide impacts upon our planet.

Or, increase investment in bomb shelter manufacturers :)

Re:Very interesting article (4, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560233)

The Tunguska event could be mis-interpreted as a nuclear strike if it were to happen today over a populated area.

I thought nuclear strikes were highly radioactive. That and other clues would be easy to gather very quickly.

Re:Very interesting article (5, Insightful)

Tisha_AH (600987) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560655)

True, a nuclear weapon will leave radioactivity and this can be detected readily. Unfortunately we are still living in a world where submarines, bombers and missiles are pointed from country to country like loaded shotguns on a hair trigger.

My fear is that someone would mis-interpret an incoming meteor as a nuclear weapon and initiate a launch on their perceived threats.

If Moscow, Washington DC, Beijing or London were wiped out in a meteorite strike that was not detected before the destruction. Do you think that missile forces would not be put on high alert?

We are not that far away from the days of "Fail Safe".

Re:Very interesting article (3, Interesting)

geobeck (924637) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561921)

My fear is that someone would mis-interpret an incoming meteor as a nuclear weapon and initiate a launch on their perceived threats.

Not a fear likely to be realized, fortunately. If a major strategic city is vaporized, it's almost a certainty that it was destroyed by a strategic nuke. If a random area of countryside or open ocean is vaporized, it's almost certainly a meteotie/asteroid/comet.

The percentage of Earth's surface covered by major strategic cities is miniscule. If an asteroid ever does hit one square on, that will be a sign that someone up there has decided to pull another Sodom & Gamorrah.

Re:Very interesting article (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23562117)

If Moscow, Washington DC, Beijing or London were wiped out in a meteorite strike that was not detected before the destruction. Do you think that missile forces would not be put on high alert?

Sure, they'd be put on 'high alert'. But 'high alert' isn't 'launching'. (And there really isn't such a thing as 'high alert' anyhow, either you are on alert or you are not.)
 
 

Unfortunately we are still living in a world where submarines, bombers and missiles are pointed from country to country like loaded shotguns on a hair trigger.

Not in the case of the US, UK, Russia, or France. Maybe the Chinese are on hair trigger?
 
 

My fear is that someone would mis-interpret an incoming meteor as a nuclear weapon and initiate a launch on their perceived threats.

Given that a) an incoming meteor is trivially distinguishable from an incoming warhead and b) very few people are looking anyhow... That's a fear not based on reality.

Re:Very interesting article (1)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560765)

The Tunguska event could be mis-interpreted as a nuclear strike if it were to happen today over a populated area.

I thought nuclear strikes were highly radioactive. That and other clues would be easy to gather very quickly.
What do you mean "very quickly"? By "very quickly", do you mean "Mr. President, we believe this to be a Russian first strike, and you must decide in the next 5 minutes if we are going to retaliate" quick?

Re:Very interesting article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23560771)

The misinterpretation in question would be caused by the sudden and massive thermal signature upon explosion of such an impactor. Early warning satellites with infrared sensors would pick that up immediately and automatically trigger respective warning cascades, and it would require human intervention and identification to tell that the huge explosion was in fact a natural phenomenon.

Re:Very interesting article (5, Interesting)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560913)

The grandparent may be thinking of this event. [wikipedia.org] Had the bollide arrived a few hours earlier, it would have exploded over either Pakistan or India who were already shooting at each other over Kashmir. The explosion was twice as large as the Hiroshima blast.

Whether both sides would have held their fire in that event is hard to tell.

Sum of All Fears (1)

Latent Heat (558884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561299)

Yeah, and the plutonium came from Hanford, Washington and was given on the Q-T to Tel Aviv.

Re:Very interesting article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23562593)

...recorded by Pliny the Younger

Not to be confused with Whiny the Middle Child...

We all know Tesla did it (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23559381)

If you saw that documentary on him called The Prestige, you know he's capable of almost anything.

Re:We all know Tesla did it (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560999)

In actuality, it's David Bowie that has the creepy electrical powers; Tesla was good, but Bowie worked better for the movie.

Personally, I'm in the group that thinks Flight of the Conchords did it by the power of Bowie. They took acid, then caused the trees to explode by playing David Bowie music for them. Even though Bowie himself wasn't there, the music still had that much power.

RE: Siberian Summer. Think Mosquitos. (4, Funny)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559383)

And vodka, and borst, and potatoes.

And lonely, vast expanses of nothingness (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559901)

Summer never really comes to Siberia.

Re:And lonely, vast expanses of nothingness (2)

gloryhallelujah (1111157) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560471)

Summer never really comes to Siberia.
So not true. Siberia, in that region, is beautiful boreal forest (taiga) and the climate is sharp continental. It can easily reach +30C. I love Siberia!

Re:And lonely, vast expanses of nothingness (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561161)

Woosh!

Evidence against (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23559389)

"The various samplings from the bottom of Lake Cheko (P'yavchenko, Kozlovskaya) revealed extensive development of silt up to 7 meters deep, indicating an ancient origin for the lake (tentatively estimated at 5000 to 10,000 years), thus completely contradicting the hypothesis of the formation of the lake as a result of the Tunguska meteorite fall (V. Koshelev, 1960)."

http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/tungmet.html [uga.edu]

Re:Evidence against (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23559963)

Yes, which, if you had read the paper linked to, you would see that they tackle said claim directly.

However, as our study progressed, we began to question the old age of the lake for the following reasons:
1 Our sub-bottom acoustic reïection data show that, of a 10 m thick sediment pile, only the top
1 ± 0.5 m is laminated, ïne-grained, normal lacustrine sediments (Gasperini et al., 2007). The
lower chaotic material appears not to be deposited by normal lacustrine sedimentation.
2 210 Pb and 137 Cs datings on sediment cores from the lake suggest sedimentation rates of roughly 1cm/yr)1(Gasperini et al., 2001). Assuming this rate is mostly due to ïne-grained material transported into the lake from the Kimchu
River, the thin lacustrine sequence is compatible with a young (100 years) age for the lake.

Re:Evidence against (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23559993)

from TFA:

"we started our work at
Lake Cheko on the assumption that
it was older than the TE: our objective
was to find markers of the TE in the
lake's sediments. However, as our
study progressed, we began to question
the old age of the lake for the
following reasons:
1 Our sub-bottom acoustic reflection
data show that, of a 10 m thick
sediment pile, only the top 1 ± 0.5 m is laminated, finegrained,
"normal" lacustrine sediments
(Gasperini et al., 2007). The
lower chaotic material appears not
to be deposited by normal lacustrine
sedimentation."

they also give 2 more reasons: the sedementation rate for the above sediment gives an age of ~100years, and numerous personal accounts that never mention or map a lake at the location, only a swamp.

slip (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559413)

So what's the adjective from Lake Cheko? Chekovian? Maybe someone's finger slipped on the photon torpedo launcher controls, and they came back in time to rename the lake -- so it went on his permanent record.

dirty (-1, Troll)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559443)

Ever see the sky photo of the crater?

http://blackfalconsoftware.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/tunguskacrater.jpg [wordpress.com]

I dunno about you, but it reminds me of one of those zoom up porno shots of an Ent [wikipedia.org] 's wife's asshole in some hardcore anal scene.

Nasty Maannnnnn!

Re:dirty (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23559541)

Ever see the sky photo of the crater?

http://blackfalconsoftware.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/tunguskacrater.jpg [wordpress.com]

I dunno about you, but it reminds me of one of those zoom up porno shots of an Ent [wikipedia.org] 's wife's asshole in some hardcore anal scene.

Nasty Maannnnnn!

Christ. Look what Tolkien has done to society. Some far worse than porno and the internet did to society as a whole. Hurry up Jeebus, we need you here!!

Alien vs Predator (1)

AssTard (684911) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559543)

Duh. When will these folsk learn to leave buried outerspace stuff alone? Johnyy H. Christ almighty!

this is not real science (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559555)

this is just astroturf advertising

for the upcoming x-files movie this july [xfiles.com]

relax, i'm joking, but what is described sounds exactly like an x-files episode, doesn't it?

Re:this is not real science (4, Funny)

fracai (796392) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559823)

yeah, The X-Files should totally have done an episode where it turns out that the Tunguska event was the land fall of aliens. They could even call the episode Tunguska!

Re:this is not real science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23560199)

I bet it would be a blast!

Re:this is not real science (1)

olyar (591892) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560517)

Thank you for reassuring me. I only delved into the comments to find the X-Files reference.

Pretty much I read /. to daily remind myself that I'm not the only hopeless geek out there.

Re:this is not real science (1)

CheeseTroll (696413) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560803)

It would've been a good fit, though they would need to have invented a non-cheesy explanation for why the American FBI was investigating an incident in Russia.

They'll have to rewrite all the books. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23559585)

Tobin's Spirit Guide, for one.

For those that can't seem to find it (4, Informative)

the_arrow (171557) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559599)

According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] , the lake is at 60.964 N and 101.86 E. Might make it easier to find in Google earth.

Re:For those that can't seem to find it (5, Informative)

meatspray (59961) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560267)

Re:For those that can't seem to find it (4, Funny)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560633)

WTF? I can get better zoom resolution on a lake in the middle of nowhere Siberia than I can get at my house!?

Somethings just not right about that.

Re:For those that can't seem to find it (2, Funny)

LtCmdrJoel (1115635) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561377)

No street view? WTF?

Re:For those that can't seem to find it (2, Funny)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 6 years ago | (#23562655)

Damn! It wouldn't calculate driving directions!

Re:For those that can't seem to find it (1)

SleptThroughClass (1127287) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561001)

According to Wikipedia, the lake is at 60.964 N and 101.86 E. Might make it easier to find in Google earth.
Particularly if you look at the Wikipedia article and click on the coordinates in the upper right corner, then click on the link to locate in Google Earth.

All your blood are belong to us (4, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559631)

In Soviet Russia, Mosquito suck YOU!

Oh ... wait ... nevermind.

Not the original paper ... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23559811)

The paper in the posting is a reply to a comment with the contrary interpretation [blackwell-synergy.com] (i.e. that Lake Cheko isn't an impact) [Same paper as PDF [blackwell-synergy.com] ]. The critical comment should be cited too.

The original paper by Gasperini et al. (2007) [blackwell-synergy.com] is also available as PDF and HTML [blackwell-synergy.com] .

I'm not particularly convinced by the evidence they present. It's quite circumstantial. What they need to find and sample is an ejecta-related layer in the lake stratigraphy or in a lake nearby, and you'd think that if such a large impactor hit the ground there would be plenty of micrometeorite debris in the sediments of the surrounding area. Geomorphological evidence and age just isn't enough.

Re:Not the original paper ... (2, Informative)

aslagle (441969) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560427)

That would be why they're planning to return and make core samples....

Re:Not the original paper ... (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561045)

I'm with you: when I read the original paper, I wasn't really bowled over by their case. In fact, I was a little concerned about the contrary evidence (which they addressed, but generally only in an iffy fashion). This lake *may* be the impact crater, but it's far from certain in my mind. I'd expect Slashdot to do better with differentiating between generally accepted theories and shaky ones.

Re:Not the original paper ... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561167)

Personally, I find the shape of the lake itself to be indicative of an artificial (as in non-erosion related) nature. The entry and exit points in the lake are very close together, and on the same side. The area is generally flat (check out Google Earth for that), except for the depression that forms the lake.

There is also the explanation of a sink hole, but that would be rather round, instead of elongated. The final proof would definitely be the discovery of micrometeorite material in the sediments, or other layers that are commonly associated with meteorite impacts (glass layers in case of sandy soil, etc). But until then, I'd say that it is more likely to argue for cause other than just erosion.

Nope. Still aliens (0, Redundant)

solweil (1168955) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560029)

This is obviously BS. Clearly aliens are to blame. Or perhaps the clones of Tesla using the HAARP array to send a destructive beam back in time.

Re:Nope. Still aliens (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560491)

Don't. Mention. The time cube.

Pictures (-1, Offtopic)

felipekk (1007591) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560031)

Here's a nice picture of the crater: link [goatse.cz] .

Re:Pictures (3, Funny)

Molochi (555357) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560385)

I amused that a link to goatse can be merely ruled offtopic now.

An alternative hypothesis (2, Interesting)

D. J. Keenan (524557) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560459)

The extra-terrestial impactor (i.e. asteroid/comet) hypothesis has been around for a long time. It has been questioned for several reasons. In particular, (i) there were bright/white nights before the event, and (ii) debris has been found in crash sites from meteorites 10000 times lighter, whereas there is none at Tunguska.

For more details and an alternative explanation, see the following.
W. Kundt (2001), "The 1908 Tunguska catastrophe [ias.ac.in] ", Current Science, 81: 399-407.

Dr. Kundt is at the University of Bonn. Briefly, his hypothesis is that there was a days-long leakage of natural gas, from Earth; the gas rose up and was eventually ignited by lightning. This seems to fit the evidence better.

In an earlier discussion on Slashdot, someone posted a comment [slashdot.org] claiming that there was a similar explosion of natural gas in Texas in 1992. (I googled, but could find no evidence.)

I do not understand the geology well, but it does not seem that the Italian researchers (cited in TFA) have found evidence against Kundt's hypothesis.

well... (3, Interesting)

murka (1295573) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560493)

Wow, catamaran is an argument. My mother [irkutsk.com] [In Russian] was on the first "Complex Independent Expedition" and on the few following ones in the 60s. (She is available for questions). Many many scientists spent years on the spot, checking all possible hypothesises from a crashed space craft to an exploded ice comet. The result: no actual material ever found and the forest damage shows that the explosion took place far above the surface. BTW, there are plenty of lakes there, as the area is pretty wet. Pick one on Google Maps to fit your favorite hypothesis.

D'ya think (1)

whitehatlurker (867714) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560577)

Semen Semenov (SciAM article) got teased as a kid?

Re:D'ya think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23560899)

Why would he?

-- Dick Dickinson

Semen Semenov? Ouch. (5, Funny)

GreyDuck (192463) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560673)

From the SciAm article's photo caption: "In this artist's conception, Semen Semenov, who witnessed the blast at a distant trading post, starts to feel the heat."

That's... a really, really unfortunate name, dude.

(I love that they managed to work "heat" and "conception" into a sentence about a guy named Semen.)

Re:Semen Semenov? Ouch. (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560959)

HAHAHAHAHA. this made my day. Seriously. Semen Semenov. Sounds like some guys porno name who plays this russian character. DDDDllloppping lewwwds!!!

Re:Semen Semenov? Ouch. (2, Informative)

21mhz (443080) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561579)

Sorry to be a bore, but it's a lossy transliteration.
The name actually sounds more like Semyon Semyonov, pretty ordinary (except I wouldn't give my son a surname echo for a first name; matter of taste).

It's a UFO (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560943)

hey also imaged an object under the sediment that may be a fragment of the impacting body.


That would be a downed UFO [wikipedia.org] .

Re:It's a UFO (1)

section321a (848754) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561219)

Bless you my friend. You've brought back lot's of repressed memories of day-long D&D sessions. I remember playing that module and loving it. A fighter with a blaster pistol... it doesn't get any better then this...

Bleh! (1)

pleappleappleap (1182301) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561123)

Hoard != Horde

Bleh!!!

Mosquitos ++ (4, Interesting)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561241)

the working conditions in the Siberian summer. Think: mosquitos.
Mosquitoes ad nauseam.

Mosquitoes to the point of anaphylaxis (well, that was what the rig's medic was afraid of, which is why he evacuated me back to the base camp).

Mosquitoes that can maintain eye contact at a meter range (i.e you can see it's eyes at a meter range) through the window of the car, then launch an assault on this nice juicy mammal, only being stopped by the glass of the window.

Mosquitoes that can keep pace with you while driving at 40km/hr on a dirt road.

Mosquitoes that can bite you through a leather glove, 20 times in one evening's work. They choose the clipboard hand, because you can't swat with that and get your work done.

Don't get me wrong - Siberia is interesting, but don't forget the industrial strength insect repellent and the appropriate clothing. If you don't know what's appropriate, ask a bee keeper. And don't forget the vaccination against tick-borne encaphalitis (which includes Lyme disease, I believe), which takes several weeks to become effective.

Re: Mosquitos ++ (2, Funny)

21mhz (443080) | more than 6 years ago | (#23561657)

Accordingly to one hypothesis, the cause of the Tunguska event was a spontaneous explosive combustion of a 5 cubic km cloud of gnats.

Re: Mosquitos ++ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23562085)

This is not quite as out there as you imply - dust clouds of any combustible material are highly volatile. You can turn something as simple as a bic lighter, a baloon, and coffee creamer into a spectacular incendiary bomb if you like.

Gnats would have to be pretty dense and pretty dry/combustible, but I'm sure you could make the flame self-sustaining w/ a 20% fuel-air mix.

Burning Sky - Alexander Kazantsev (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23561715)

Alexander Kazantsev wrote a book called Burning Sky about the possibility of the Tunguska impact being a spaceship.

They have the story online in Russian:
http://www.lib.ru/RUFANT/KAZANCEW/ostrov.txt

I studied Russian in College and have translated (roughly, I need to go back and smooth my work) about 1/6 of the book. Any interested party can feel free to e-mail my msn account at danefuhr. Please, no spam.

I have always been a big fan of soviet era science fiction (Fatal Eggs, Heart of a Dog, etc.).

Carolina bays (4, Interesting)

Solandri (704621) | more than 6 years ago | (#23562137)

There's a similar mystery right here in the U.S. The Carolina bays [wikipedia.org] are elliptical depressions scattered throughout the southern Eastern U.S. seaboard [google.com] . They're mostly filled with water so form small lakes, ponds, or wetlands. But they're all approximately the same shape and orientation (but not size). A variety of theories have been posed as to their origin, including a glancing comet strike (shallow angle impacts produce elliptical craters, not round). They're not as well-known as the Tunguska event, but they're a lot more accessible if you wanted to visit a mysterious possible impact site.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?