Researchers claim reexamination of rock samples confirms meteoritic origin of Tunguska cosmic body

Jun 12, 2013 by Bob Yirka weblog
Researchers claim reexamination of rock samples confirms meteoritic origin of Tunguska cosmic body
SEM images of the Tunguska diamond-lonsdaleite-graphite intergrowths with natural rounded surface. Credit: Planetary and Space Science, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2013.05.003

(Phys.org) —A team of researchers with members from the U.S., Germany and Ukraine is claiming in a paper they've had published in the journal Planetary and Space Science, that they have found evidence to prove the Tunguska event was caused by a meteor that exploded in the atmosphere above the Russian plain.

The was, of course, an explosion that occurred in a remote part of Siberia in 1908. Most scientists agree that it was caused by either a meteor or comet strike, and as such, was the largest to ever strike our planet in recorded history. The blast flattened thousands of acres of and led to numerous research efforts to determine its cause. Due to the immense power of the blast however, no physical evidence of the source of the blast has ever been found. Now, however, the researchers in this new effort claim they have found proof that some rocks found by a Ukrainian scientist back in 1978 are remnants of the meteor that caused the massive explosion.

The were found in a bog by Mykola Kovalyukh near the epicenter of the explosion—he claimed at the time that his samples offered proof that the explosion was caused by a meteor. Critics dismissed his claims however, because the rock samples contained too little iridium.

Picking up where Kovalyukh left off, the new team working in the Ukraine used more modern tools to reexamine the stone samples. They claim that has revealed finely veined iron-based minerals that include schreibersite, troilite and taenite, an iron–nickel alloy. They say the patterns and amounts of the materials in the rock samples are very similar to other known and thus, it is a near certainty that the samples found in the bog came from a meteor as well.

Despite the team's claims that they have identified the cosmic body that caused the , there is still one big problem—though they may have proved the rock samples they examined are in fact remnants of a meteor, they have no proof that the sample rocks came from the same meteor that caused the . Because Kovalyukh didn't collect peat samples from the bog where the rocks were found (to provide a means of dating) there is no way to prove that the sample rocks—meteor remnants—didn't land in the bog sometime after the explosion.

Explore further: Sandblasting winds shift Mars' landscape

More information: New evidence of meteoritic origin of the Tunguska cosmic body, Planetary and Space Science, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2013.05.003

via Nature News

Related Stories

Tunguska, 1908: Russia's greatest cosmic mystery

Feb 15, 2013

The stunning burning-up of a meteor over Russia on Friday that unleashed a shockwave injuring hundreds of people appears to be the country's most dramatic cosmic experience since the historic Tunguska Event ...

Sky fall: Meteorites strike Earth every few months

Feb 15, 2013

(AP)—A meteor exploded in the sky above Russia's Ural Mountains on Friday, causing a shockwave that blew out countless windows and injured hundreds of people with flying glass. Here's a look at those objects ...

Recommended for you

The wake-up call that sent hearts racing

1 hour ago

"But as the minutes ticked by, the relaxed attitude of many of us began to dissolve into apprehension. Our levels of adrenaline and worry began to rise."

US-India to collaborate on Mars exploration

11 hours ago

The United States and India, fresh from sending their own respective spacecraft into Mars' orbit earlier this month, on Tuesday agreed to cooperate on future exploration of the Red Planet.

Swift mission observes mega flares from a mini star

11 hours ago

On April 23, NASA's Swift satellite detected the strongest, hottest, and longest-lasting sequence of stellar flares ever seen from a nearby red dwarf star. The initial blast from this record-setting series ...

Sandblasting winds shift Mars' landscape

16 hours ago

High winds are a near-daily force on the surface of Mars, carving out a landscape of shifting dunes and posing a challenge to exploration, scientists said Tuesday.

PanSTARRS K1, the comet that keeps going

18 hours ago

Thank you K1 PanSTARRS for hanging in there! Some comets crumble and fade away. Others linger a few months and move on. But after looping across the night sky for more than a year, this one is nowhere near ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Sinister1811
1 / 5 (4) Jun 13, 2013
I thought it might've been a meteorite. They say that the force of the explosion was more than that of an atomic bomb. Must've contained some explosive elements.

In other weird news, a Chinese plane was forced to make an emergency landing after hitting a mystery object:
http://www.dailym...-newsxml