The Tunguska event was a large explosion, which occurred near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in what is nowKrasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, at about 07:14 KRAT (00:14 UT) on June 30, 1908. The explosion occurred at an altitude of 5–10 kilometres (3–6 mi) at 60.886°N, 101.894°E. Different studies have yielded widely varying estimates of the impacting object’s size, on the order of 60 m (200 ft) to 190 m (620 ft). It is the largest impact event on or near Earth inrecorded history. It is classified as an impact even though the asteroid or comet is believed to have burst in the air rather than hitting the surface.
Since the 1908 explosion, there have been an estimated 1,000 scholarly papers (mainly in Russian) published on the Tunguska explosion. Many scientists have participated in Tunguska studies; the best known are Leonid Kulik, Yevgeny Krinov, Kirill Florensky, Nikolai Vladimirovich Vasiliev, and Wilhelm Fast. In 2013, a team of researchers led by Victor Kvasnytsya of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine published analysis results of micro-samples from a peat bog near the blast epicenter showing fragments that may be of meteoric origin.
Estimates of the energy of the blast range from as low as three to as high as 30 megatons of TNT (between 13 and 130PJ). Most likely it was between 10–15 megatons of TNT (42–63 PJ), and, if so, then the energy of the explosion was about 1,000 times greater than that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan; roughly equal to that of the United States’ Castle Bravo ground-based thermonuclear test detonation on March 1, 1954; and about two-fifths that of the Soviet Union’s later Tsar Bomba (the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated).
It is estimated that the Tunguska explosion knocked down some 80 million trees over an area of 2,150 square kilometres (830 sq mi), and that the shock wave from the blast would have measured 5.0 on the Richter scale. An explosion of this magnitude would be capable of destroying a large metropolitan area, but due to the remoteness of the location no fatalities were documented. This event has helped to spark discussion ofasteroid impact avoidance.
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Source: Wikipedia and RCAS news