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3-D Supercomputer Solves Mystery of the Great 1908 Siberian Explosion

Breaking Earth News
The awesome explosion and devastation at Tunguska a century ago in Siberia -the largest impact event in recent history- may have been caused by an asteroid only a fraction as large as previously published estimates. The Sandia National Laboratories supercomputer simulations run counter to prior theories of a mini black hole or comet as the cause.

The energy of the blast was estimated to be between 10 and 20 megatons of TNT — 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. The explosion felled an estimated 80 million trees over 2,150 square kilometers, and measured 5.0 on the Richter scale.

“The asteroid that caused the extensive damage was much smaller than we had thought,” says Sandia principal investigator Mark Boslough of the impact that occurred June 30, 1908. “That such a small object can do this kind of destruction suggests that smaller asteroids are something to consider. Their smaller size indicates such collisions are not as improbable as we had believed.”

Because smaller asteroids approach Earth statistically more frequently than larger ones, he says, “We should be making more efforts at detecting the smaller ones than we have till now.”

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