by David Talbott
for much of the scientific content of this series
February 2, 2006
taken by the Leonid Kulik expedition in 1930.
Shattered trees from
the now-famous "Tunguska Event" testified to the force of the
mysterious aerial explosion.
(No one can dispute the occurrence, but
how it happened is the subject of continuing, and often heated,
controversy. Despite the best efforts of science, every acceptable
"explanation" leaves inescapable facts still shouting for
The event began at about 7:15 on the morning of June 30, 1908 in a
remote region of central Siberia near the Stony Tunguska River. A
blue-white fireball -- brighter than the Sun, some said -- raced
across the sky, then exploded with the force of a 10- to 15-megaton
The explosion felled some 60 million trees across an area of 2000
square kilometers. Yet some trees near the blast center were not
burnt and a ring of burnt trees circling the epicenter was left
standing. The thunderous sounds were accompanied by a shock wave
that knocked people off their feet and broke windows hundreds of
The explosion registered on seismic stations across Europe and Asia,
and as far away as Britain meteorologists registered fluctuations in
atmospheric pressure. The resulting pulse of air pressure circled
the Earth twice, and astronomers observed for several nights
afterwards a glowing red haze in the upper atmosphere, though they
were not aware of the cause at the time. Curiously, reports of an
unusually bright night sky began THE NIGHT BEFORE THE TUNGUSKA EVENT
and continued for several days afterwards.
For the next few weeks, reports suggest that the night skies were
aglow to such an extent that one could read in their light. Both the
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Mount Wilson
Observatory reported a decrease in atmospheric transparency
persisting for several months.
What, then, was experienced by the witnesses to the event: Accounts
gathered by the Russian mineralogist Leonid Kulik, in his 1930
expedition to the site of the explosion are consistent enough on
many details to be considered generally reliable. Here is an excerpt
from the account of resident Semen Semenov:
"At breakfast time I was sitting by the house at Vanavara factory
facing North. [...] I suddenly saw that directly to the North, over
Onkoulís 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 couldnít 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
yards. 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."
Kulikís expedition to the Tunguska explosion site was inspired by
his belief that a gigantic meteorite struck the area and that the
iron recovered could pay for the cost of the expedition. He received
support from the Soviet Academy of Sciences. The story is curiously
Daniel Barringerís investigation of Meteor
Crater in Arizona -- except that in Kulikís case neither
a meteor nor an "impact crater" could be found.
However, a later investigation by mineralogist O. A. Kirova
recovered both magnetite globules and various forms of silicate
globules from samples obtained by Kiril Pavlovich Florenskyís
expedition in 1958. Thousands of "tiny brilliant spheres," many
fused together, were found embedded like pellets in the earth and in
the trees. Globules of this sort are characteristic of the enigmatic
particles produced when meteoroids enter the atmosphere. (As we
shall note in the submission to follow, the study of such formations
leaves many unanswered questions.) The Tunguska globules occur over
a fairly well-defined ellipse, with high concentrations between 100
and 200 kilometers to the north-north-west of the epicenter. Florensky suggested that this distribution might be explained by
fallout downwind of the high-altitude location of the final
Most astronomers today envision the cause of the destruction as
either a small comet or asteroid exploding a few miles above the
surface. Some estimates point to an object 100 meters in diameter.
According to the calculations of Christopher Chyba of the NASA
Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, only a stony
meteorite would explode at an altitude of 10 kilometers, the
commonly agreed height of the Tunguska blast. A comet of the assumed
size would disintegrate much higher in the atmosphere and cause less
damage on the ground.
Yet scientists are still arguing over certain unexplained events and
the fact that no samples of the "impacting" object have ever been
found. "If a group of experts cannot agree for almost a hundred
years, itís probably a third option," says Wolfgang Kundt, an
astrophysicist from the University of Bonn in Germany.
Andrei OlíKhovatov, an independent Russian physicist who is
intrigued by the Tunguska event, agrees that the impact theory
leaves too many unanswered questions. He points out, for example,
that witnesses reported strange weather and increased seismic
activity in the area for days BEFOREHAND.
The absence of a coherent explanation has inspired a host of
speculations. Some exotic theories suggest a miniature black hole
passing through the earth, or a miniature "bomb" of anti-matter.
Alternatively, either an exploding alien spacecraft, or an
alien-produced nuclear bomb has been offered. Some suggest that it
Tesla testing his "death ray". As a light-hearted jest amid the
carnival of speculations, electrical theorists wonder if a
"microscopic packet of neutronium" (the fictional content of
"neutron stars") might be the next explanation offered.
February 3, 2006
such as this, taken by the Leonid Kulik expedition in 1930, show the
directional fall of trees over a wide area.
An Explanation that Works
(It seems that scientific investigation has left the mystery of the
fiery Tunguska explosion unresolved. From the beginning, the debate
excluded the electric force, the one force that allows for a unified
solution and excludes no field of evidence.)
the "Electric Universe" ask that this new perspective
on the physical world be judged by its predictive ability, and its
ability to explain all relevant data. In accounting for the Tunguska
event they insist that, unlike prior "explanations", the
Universe does not leave a substantial body of evidence unexplained.
The extraordinary power of the
high-energy explosion above ground
The most likely origin of the object that caused the Tunguska event
is the short-period comet Encke, the acknowledged source of the
Beta Taurid meteor shower. On June 30, the shower was at its peak.
In the electric model of comets,
the energy released when a comet fragment encounters the Earth is
not limited by the mass and kinetic energy of the fragment, but
includes the electrical energy due to the charge differential
between it and the Earth. This stored electrical energy also
accounts for the "astonishing" explosion that occurred when the
Deep Impact probe (below) met
up with Comet Tempel 1.
Calculations of the mass and size of the
Tunguska bolide, based solely on mechanical considerations, will be
exaggerated. This, of course, has implications when searching for
fragments that survived the fall.
Repeated testimony of strange sounds
before the event
In terms of the speed of sound in Earthís atmosphere, the reports of
weird sounds in advance appear absurd. But they are entirely
plausible as "electrophonic sounds" heard either before, or
simultaneous with, the sighting of brilliant meteor fireballs up to
100km distant. Electrophonic sounds signify the direct conversion,
by transduction, of very low frequency electromagnetic energy into
audible sounds (through a medium that can be as simple as a gold
tooth filling or a pair of glasses). Abundant reports of peculiar
sounds in connection with meteors, auroras, earthquakes and even
nuclear bomb tests are sufficient to substantiate the effect. The
cause is most easily understood as a natural resonance of an
extensive plasma discharge in the Earthís atmosphere (or underground
in the case of earthquakes). In the case of an approaching comet,
the incoming body is electrified with respect to the Earth.
The glowing of the sky before the event
In the electric solar system, the planets and all comets have plasma
sheaths that isolate them electrically from the solar plasma. When
two plasma sheaths "touch", the two bodies "see" each other
electrically for the first time. Comets have plasma sheaths that are
millions of kilometers in diameter. So even at their high speed
their electrical effect could be felt days in advance of a physical
encounter. In such instances, the electrical effect upon the Earth
may take the form of unusual auroral displays. The prior "sky glows"
associated with Tunguska could also be due to cometary fragments,
lying along the cometís orbit in advance of the comet nucleus,
entering the stratosphere and reflecting sunlight long after sunset.
Of course, a simple "asteroidal" explanation of Tunguska cannot
address either this phenomenon, or any of the other advanced signs
of the intruderís approach (noted below).
Reports of strange weather before the
In an electric solar system electric currents flowing between the
solar plasma and the planets are the primary factors driving Earthís
weather patterns. In fact, the most violent winds occur on planets
most distant from the Sun, where solar heating is negligible.
Ice-cold Neptune, the gas giant farthest from Earth, has 2,000 km/h
winds! When seen in these terms, it becomes clear that an electrical
disturbance might be evident in the form of unusual weather days
before the arrival of a comet.
Reports of strange seismic activity
before the event
New evidence links
earthquakes to the occurrence of
"underground lightning". A minor electrical disturbance of the
Earth, due to the intrusion of a charged body, could indeed trigger
earthquakes, in the same way that electrical sunspot activity
Geomagnetic effects before the event
Professor Weber of Kiel University observed unusual regular periodic
deviations of the compass needle. This effect was repeated each
evening from 27 June through 30 June 1908. The recordings looked
like geomagnetic storms, usually associated with solar electrical
activity. This time the approaching comet was the most likely source
of the electrical disturbance. The duration of the storms indicates
that comets are a copious source of electrons. That is, comets are
highly negatively charged with respect to the inner solar system.
Their influence can be vastly greater than mere gravitational and
inertial considerations would suggest.
Global atmospheric pressure pulse
The Earthís atmosphere forms the dielectric of a capacitor with the
two "plates" of
the capacitor being the Earth and the
The cometís electrical disturbance will
cause pressure pulses in the atmosphere before the comet arrives as
well as upon arrival. It is noteworthy in this respect that a giant ionospheric disturbance accompanied the magnitude 9.3
earthquake of 26 December 2004. The ionosphere moved up and down
by about 40 km!
And changes in the ionosphere have been registered 5 to 10
before an earthquake.
At a cometís closest approach, a plasma discharge takes place
between the Earth and the comet. The comet is fragmented explosively
by internal electrical stresses, and all of the fragments may be
melted or vaporized in a plasma discharge so that no impact crater
is formed. An interesting fact is that the Tunguska epicenter almost
exactly coincides with
the muzzle of a Triassic volcano.
Volcanoes are the focus of electric discharge activity and may
retain an electrical conductivity different from that of the
surrounding crust. This fact can only accentuate the argument that
the blast was electrical.
Absence of meteoric fragments
If we had to rely on the fireball and air friction alone to heat the
bolide or to break it apart, we should expect to find stony
remnants. However, as noted above, most or all of the comet
fragments will be melted and vaporized in the plasma discharge.
Also, "ground zero" is the focus of the plasma discharge between the
Earth and the comet. It is not the site of any impact and we should
not expect to find cometary fragments there.
Instantaneous eruption of fire across
hundreds of square kilometers
The plasma discharge between the comet and the Earth would have had
many strange effects in the atmosphere and at ground level unlike
anything ever experienced by the inhabitants. In addition to fires
started by radiation from the fireball, electrically ignited fires
would have been started at the same instant over a wide area.
Frightful lightning and thunder in the
midst of the firestorm
Unusual lightning, such as St. Elmoís fire and ball lightning would
have been generated at the Earthís surface. Lightning would have
struck from a clear blue sky. (See addendum to this discussion
Blast of heat along with a shock wave
many kilometers away from the explosion
Wherever the discharges touch down there will be sudden heating of
the air and a blast. Touchdown points may be a considerable distance
from the bolideís track and the explosion center.
Presence of microscopic glassy
spherules over a large area
The final result of the explosive fragmentation, melting and
vaporization of the bolide will be a spray of glassy spherules
beyond the point where the main plasma discharge and explosion took
place. The creation of spherules by electric discharge and
electrical fusing, a common effect of lightning,
is now well demonstrated in the laboratory.
Almost 100 years after the event, the
specialists are still debating whether the exploding object was a
comet or an asteroid. Conventional proponents of the
explanation note the presence of cometary material in the ground
over a wide area. Proponents of the asteroid or meteor hypothesis
say that a fragile comet would be destroyed too high in the
atmosphere. The debate is entirely irrelevant from an electrical
Comets, asteroids, and meteors have the same origins
and are formed in the same way. It is the contemporary mythology of
comets that suggests they are fragile "icy dirtballs." An asteroid
large enough to hold its charge while moving on a highly elliptical
(comet-like orbit) through the Sunís electric field, would become a
comet irrespective of its composition. In fact, we have an instance
of this occurring when the asteroid Chiron, on a chaotic orbit
between Saturn and Uranus, unexpectedly sported a tail and became
classified as a comet.
In considering theories of the Tunguska event, certain questions
must be asked without prejudice. Does a proposed explanation address
all of the facts? Are the facts predictable under the proposed
explanation? Is there anything we should expect to find that has not
been found? The electric theorists are confident that, if official
science will withdraw its investment in a discredited, electrically
sterile view of the physical universe, the answers to these
questions will be obvious.
In the case of the Tunguska event, some of the most compelling
evidence comes from those who experienced the terror first hand. In
1928, I. M. Suslov recorded the following testimony from a member of
Shanyagir tribe (this taken from the Wikipedia site):
"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, couldnít 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 for out father, mother, brother, but no one
"There was noise beyond the hut, we could hear trees falling
down. Me and Chekaren 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
Me and Chekaren had some difficulty getting under from 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