"This is arguably the best book you will find on this subject - thorough, balanced, detailed, in-depth and very well-written on top of everything else. If you're interested in the Tunguska mystery, start here. My hat is off to Rubtsov for his scholarship and lucid writing style." Michael Schmicker, "Journal of Scientific Exploration
From the Author
What is Tunguska? This is a region in Central Siberia, where there are several rivers with this word in their names (all tributaries of the Yenisey). But also this is a short designation of one of the most enigmatic events that happened in the 20th century: the flight and explosion of a cosmic body of unknown nature.The high-altitude explosion that occurred in this region on the morning of June 30, 1908, devastated almost 940 square miles of the taiga, twice as large as the territory of New York City, flattening some 30 million trees. If the Tunguska space body had fallen some five hours later then St-Petersburg would have found itself in the seat of its explosion and the city would have been in ruins. Minutes after the explosion a magnetic storm began, like the geomagnetic disturbances following nuclear explosions in the atmosphere. This was detected by the Magnetographic and Meteorological Observatory in Irkutsk. The storm lasted five hours.In the former USSR almost every reading person knew the meaning of the word "Tunguska". Not so in the West. Although any Internet search engine will immediately react to the keyword "Tunguska" offering about three million web pages, I regularly meet with western people who have no notion of the Tunguska event. But even those who have heard something about it know little about the subject. Just that a space body fell in Siberia and leveled many trees. They believe that "science has proved" that it was either a stony asteroid or the icy core of a comet. In fact, the picture is not so simple...The primary problem with the conventional interpretation of the Tunguska event is that there is no trace of either asteroidal or cometary material at the site of the explosion. Usually, authors of Tunguska hypotheses pay careful attention to this fact and try to build a mechanism to explain it, with varying degrees of success. But there is also a serious problem that is generally overlooked: the need to take into consideration all empirical data and to reconstruct the Tunguska event before building any models of it. Such a reconstruction is essential since the consequences of this event are many and varied. Unfortunately, many theorists who try to solve this enigma are aware of only two facts: in 1908 something flew over Siberia and this "something" exploded. Actually there is far more to this story. I personally researched this subject for 40 years and this book presents the wealth of information collected in Russia during the past 100 years.Those wishing to find out what did in fact happen in Central Siberia in 1908 have to consider the whole body of relevant data; only then will a realistic model of the phenomenon be seen through the apparent chaos of this body of information. And, as the famous detective Sherlock Holmes used to say, "the more bizarre and grotesque an incident is the more carefully it deserves to be examined, and the very point which appears to complicate a case is, when duly considered and scientifically handled, the one which is most likely to elucidate it".
During the last century, the public has often read that "The Great Enigma of the Tunguska Meteorite Has Been Solved!" But such statements were premature. Only now do we have the opportunity to solve the problem by harnessing the discovered facts and building a correct picture of t
he Tunguska event. No more guessing and flawed hypotheses - just objectivity, empiri
cism and taking into account all reliable data...