Meteor that blasted millions of trees in Siberia only 'grazed' Earth, new research says

May 3, 2020
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It's interesting this hypothesis. It could explain what I saw once when I was young , with a friend. We both saw and could not explain what looked essentially like a rock shaped object maybe slightly smaller than the space the full moon takes in the night sky... brightly coloured and lit , irregular shaped and tumbling . It traversed across sky not slow but not nearly as fast as a meteor and left no trail and no bang or flash. More sedate than anything else. Just after dark, around sept, and in mid sixties. I can't remember exact year. South Ontario near Ottawa. If I remember correctly it was going roughly east west. I've tried recently to look up any unusual events at that time and place but nothing specifically like that . Although there was the flaring bolide of sept 17 1966 which matches time and place. Reading this article ,..maybe it was an asteroid that grazed earth, flouresced
and fragmented slightly to produce the observed seperate event of the bolide?
 
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Jan 21, 2020
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Not a large weather balloon, perhaps, falling and tumbling (being irregular shaped) and being lit up much brighter higher up by the sun's rays (as it would be for us on the earth's surface at any dusk on dawn)? Was just thinking about a possible explanation
 

mvk

May 31, 2020
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In lieu of these findings, I'd say it was a small iron meteor with a perpendicular vector towards earth at twice the speed. Going 40km/s, it would have disintegrated into plasma and created one hell of a blast 🤷‍♂️
 
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May 31, 2020
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In lieu of these findings, I'd say it was a small iron meteor with a perpendicular vector towards earth at twice the speed. Going 40km/s, it would have disintegrated into plasma and created one hell of a blast 🤷‍♂️
Well, I'm glad we got this sorted.
 
Mar 19, 2020
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Have to agree with Mark Boslough, that such a grazing event would not produce a radial dispersion of trees, etc.

From the article:

Boslough:

"What's more, the pattern of felled trees at the site is radial — emanating from a single point of tremendous energy release, he said. That's something you'd expect to see after an explosion rather than a sonic boom, "even if it had been strong enough to blow trees over." Boslough added that eyewitness accounts at the time of the incident "are consistent with an object that was descending toward the surface before it exploded."

end quote

The only logical conclusion is the original, well-conceived postulate that a loose, rocky asteroid detonated due to heating and a vast over-pressure caused by its high speed entry into the atmosphere, and the inability of the asteroid to maintain its structural integrity from the over-pressure. That no sizable debris was found is likely an indication of the force of the detonation, which likely vaporized the asteroid. Fine debris isolated from the site would appear to finish this story (see below).

A quote from wiki*

"Expeditions sent to the area in the 1950s and 1960s found microscopic silicate and magnetite spheres in siftings of the soil. Similar spheres were predicted to exist in the felled trees, although they could not be detected by contemporary means. Later expeditions did identify such spheres in the resin of the trees. Chemical analysis showed that the spheres contained high proportions of nickel relative to iron, which is also found in meteorites, leading to the conclusion they were of extraterrestrial origin. The concentration of the spheres in different regions of the soil was also found to be consistent with the expected distribution of debris from a meteoroid air burst.[31] Later studies of the spheres found unusual ratios of numerous other metals relative to the surrounding environment, which was taken as further evidence of their extraterrestrial origin.[32]

Chemical analysis of peat bogs from the area also revealed numerous anomalies considered consistent with an impact event. The isotopic signatures of carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen at the layer of the bogs corresponding to 1908 were found to be inconsistent with the isotopic ratios measured in the adjacent layers, and this abnormality was not found in bogs located outside the area. The region of the bogs showing these anomalous signatures also contains an unusually high proportion of iridium, similar to the iridium layer found in the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary. These unusual proportions are believed to result from debris from the falling body that deposited in the bogs. The nitrogen is believed to have been deposited as acid rain, a suspected fallout from the explosion.[32][33][34]"

end quote

Another quote from wiki*:

"Since the second half of the 20th century, close monitoring of Earth's atmosphere through infrasound and satellite observation has shown that asteroid air bursts with energies comparable to those of nuclear weapons routinely occur, although Tunguska-sized events, on the order of 5–15 megatons,[41] are much rarer. Eugene Shoemaker estimated that 20-kiloton events occur annually and that Tunguska-sized events occur about once every 300 years.[37][42] More recent estimates place Tunguska-sized events at about once every thousand years, with 5-kiloton air bursts averaging about once per year.[43] Most of these air bursts are thought to be caused by asteroid impactors, as opposed to mechanically weaker cometary materials, based on their typical penetration depths into the Earth's atmosphere.[43] The largest asteroid air burst to be observed with modern instrumentation was the 500-kiloton Chelyabinsk meteor in 2013, 0which shattered windows and produced meteorites.[41]"

end quote

The Tunguska event almost certainly resulted from the terminal penetration of a large rocky asteroid that exploded due to the heat and vast over-pressure on the body as it raced into the atmosphere. Cannot see how a high altitude shock wave could produce a radial pattern of destruction. Only an air-burst overhead would cause such a pattern. And there is no doubt that isotope ratios (common to asteroids) found in the area of destruction are not going to be deposited by a simple high altitude shock wave.

For an excellent overview on this bolide, and other theories, see:

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunguska_event
 
Last edited:
May 3, 2020
14
5
15
Not a large weather balloon, perhaps, falling and tumbling (being irregular shaped) and being lit up much brighter higher up by the sun's rays (as it would be for us on the earth's surface at any dusk on dawn)? Was just thinking about a possible explanation
Yes possibly one could contest it as a weather balloon but I would be sceptical of this as my memory and my understanding of weather balloons and how they could break up and explode in fireballs are not consistent.I think about this sighting of mine many years ago almost daily it was so strange. It definitely looked structurally sound and solid. Just like an irregular shaped coloured rock tumbling through the sky. The only reason I mentioned it here was the premise in the article. It implies that if an asteroid can graze the earth atmosphere and break up, then one that grazes it at a higher altitude...won't break up, be visible still, be heated so as to Glow and have small disintegrations occur. And my memory places it almost exactly at the same time in the so called "Ottawa Bolide" well documented . My memory has it just past dusk early September mid sixties. Going roughly E-W ( Ive checked google streets for the original location I observed) ...a look at Google maps shows it was consistent with the Ottawa bolide which although stated as northerly, if one looks at google maps, it's trajectory was S. Ontario to lake Michigan which actually is e-w. What's more important for me is that if we have many documented fireballs of asteroids that break up in the narrow window of a few tens of miles above our surface, there must be many many more asteroids that randomly skim our earth's surface between tens and hundreds of miles altitude...And go unnoticed.
 
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Mar 19, 2020
433
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It's interesting this hypothesis. It could explain what I saw once when I was young , with a friend. We both saw and could not explain what looked essentially like a rock shaped object maybe slightly smaller than the space the full moon takes in the night sky... brightly coloured and lit , irregular shaped and tumbling . It traversed across sky not slow but not nearly as fast as a meteor and left no trail and no bang or flash. More sedate than anything else. Just after dark, around sept, and in mid sixties. I can't remember exact year. South Ontario near Ottawa. If I remember correctly it was going roughly east west. I've tried recently to look up any unusual events at that time and place but nothing specifically like that . Although there was the flaring bolide of sept 17 1966 which matches time and place. Reading this article ,..maybe it was an asteroid that grazed earth, flouresced and fragmented slightly to produce the observed seperate event of the bolide?

Reviewing possible meteors/bolides observed in Ontario with a mid-60s time-frame leaves only the one you suggested for 17 September, 1966, which was moving from the south-east to the north-west, starting around 8:48 PM EDT, as you noted ("just after dark").

It, or a fragment, is believed to have splashed into Lake Huron about 10 mile off Kincardine. While I cannot find anything about a definite explosion, it is often called the "1966 Southern Ontario Bolide" (1). Since there were reports of loud detonations (2), it seems likely it exploded, and the sounds were both from sonic booms and breakup of the meteor. I can understand why you remember it almost every day. It must have been quite spectacular!

(1)
(2)
 

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