The Tunguska Mystery review

Having such a long-term interest in the subject, but little information to pour over, I found Mr. Rubtsov’s book very interesting. For the most part, the book is laid out chronologically, with a minimum of backtracking or skipping ahead in time. You can kind of tell that it was written by someone whose first language was not English, but it is nothing that makes the book less comprehensible.

After reading Mr. Rubtsov’s book a couple times, I noticed the book arrives at an unstated conclusion: The Tunguska explosion may have left behind all sorts of evidence—the felled forest, the radiant burn, barographic and seismic records—but as far as physical traces of the object itself, the evidence becomes much less indisputable. Pockets of slightly elevated amounts of certain metals and possible space dust have been found in the Tunguska blast zone, but there is only one or two substances that really stand out as being very likely connected with the object itself, and the main one is a rare-earth element called ytterbium. Not only is this element some 800 times higher than normal, its dispersion pattern follows the trajectory path of the Tunguska object. On top of that, according to Mr. Rubtsov, ytterbium is always found in nature along with the rare-earth yttrium at a level 1/10 of the yttrium. At Tunguska, the levels of ytterbium apparently surpass or equal the yttrium.

Incidentally, there are four other elements that follow the trajectory path—lanthanum, lead, silver and manganese.

So what have I been doing since 2006 in regards to Tunguska research? Well, in addition to having read Mr. Rubtsov’s book, I cataloged all of the translated witness statements that I have collected from various sources by location. I then set about studying them more closely. Even with the limited number of accounts at my disposal, the dilemma is obvious: The Tunguska event witness statements are just nuts when it comes to any attempt to match them with a single trajectory for the Tunguska object. The problem isn’t as simple as a person in one location stating he saw an object in the sky, while another person a hundred miles away claims he also saw an object in the sky, the problem is that there are very vivid accounts, separated by hundreds of miles from one another, describing the direction and size of the respective objects. A researcher is left with only two choices, I suppose: either disregard most of the witness accounts as fabrications, or invent multiple objects to accommodate all the conflicting information. So I stopped for a moment and looked at things in the most logical sense—that the Tunguska event wasn’t just a single large meteor, but what can only be described as a barrage of large meteors. Common sense would dictate that the barrage would have to have originated from a single large asteroid-size object breaking up somewhere far out in space prior to entering Earth’s atmosphere, so the objects—although separated perhaps—would all enter the atmosphere at the same angle. So after some 38 years of reading about the Tunguska event, I formed a theory to put to the test: Based on the witness accounts that I had at my disposal, I drew some lines representing flight paths for four objects on a map, all arriving at an angle of precisely 30.5o, and then went back to the witness accounts to see how the lines fit. Discounting those witness accounts from the fall zone or close by, which are not particularly useful in plotting a course for the object(s), I have 17 first-hand accounts and 4 newspaper articles from roughly 10 different locations. I was a bit surprised at how well they did fit: There were only a couple accounts that contradicted my theory. One was by V.K. Penigan from just north of Kondrashino, and the second was K.A. Kokorin from Kezhema.

This is all of the translated witness accounts that factored into my theory. The page does not include any accounts from the fall zone or nearby locations, such as the trading post of Vanavara. I have taken liberty to smooth out some of the grammar in a few of them, being careful to retain the meaning.
Tunguska witness accounts

My theory, in picture form: I thought the most logical map to use is the one created by Arkady Voznesensky. The blue dots represent the roughly ten locations of the witness accounts that were factored in. The green dots represent villages from which second-hand witness account information was factored in.

Object #1: All of the objects seemed to have started out reddish in color, and this one must have been red as it passed over the Lower Tunguska River, as evident by the account of Stiopia in Moga. I think it also might have been a few seconds behind object number 2.

Object #2: The object that exploded. Red as it passed over the Lower Tunguska, it would quickly turn white hot as it reached about 59 degrees latitude. I believe it was about here that the object caught the attention of Stiopia. After Stiopia entered the house, object #1 would pass by to the north, diverting Stiopia’s attention to a reddish beam of light shinning through a northwest facing window. From this point on, object#2 would be difficult to look at with the naked eye.

Another person that might have witnessed both objects is V.K. Penigin of Kondrashino, who, to make some sense out of what he had witnessed, imagined that the first object had made some sort of radical maneuver to the right after it had gotten down range.

Object #3: Never getting quite as hot as the object that exploded, it would retain a little of its reddish hue at it flew past Kezhma.

Object #4: This object obviously flew a long distance while still retaining some of its reddish color; a testament to just how shallow the initial angle of entry must have been for the various objects.

Object #5: This one is not on the map, but if the account from Alexandrovka—a village far to the southwest of the epicenter at about 55,25 latitude and 100,55 longitude—is any indication, there was at least one more object farther south.

One thing to keep in mind is that while all of the objects would have entered at the same north-south angle, their angle of entry could have differed. Object 2 might have entered at a somewhat steeper angle than the other objects, heating up quicker and eventually succumbing to temperature and pressure. The remaining objects might have simply skipped through the upper atmosphere much like the one photographed over the Grand Tetons in Wyoming in 1972.

The K.A. Kokorin account:

This account is the only one that contradicts my theory in a major way, specifically the part about an object traveling from the southwest to the northeast. Incidentally, it is the only translated account that I know of that may explain why Felix Zigel was so inclined to stick with a southern trajectory, unless he simply went by the fact that some people far south of the epicenter reported seeing an object. But there are many more witness accounts that have not been translated, so that is only conjecture on my part. To account for this discrepancy, I offer these suggestions: 1: Mr. Kokorin got his northwest confused with his northeast. Or 2: Like Stiopia and perhaps V. K. Penigin, he also witnessed two objects, causing himself confusion or causing Evgeny Krinov to become confused when recording his account 22 years later.

There is some loose evidence that the object seen passing N.Ilimsk exploded at some point northwest of Ilimsk before it got to Kezhma, possibly into two pieces. N.Ilimsk: […approaching even nearer to the earth, this sphere had the look of two fiery columns.] Khezma: [At 7 a.m. two giant fiery circles appeared on the north.]

So if there were indeed two objects that flew past Kezhma, one just to the north and one just to the south, the question is, why didn’t Mr. Naumenko (another Kezhma witness) see the second streamer to his far right. Was his view to the south blocked? A question that can never be answered. A third possibility that can’t be completely ignored is that Mr. Kokorin saw an object that had nothing to do with the Tunguska object or objects, but for now anyway, without any additional translated accounts to back it up, I am going to view Mr. Kokorin’s account with a skeptical eye.

And so, the main mystery remains: How did Felix Zigel happen to choose a trajectory that pointed directly to the location of a famous UFO sighting? Still no closer to answering that question.


mysteries, commentary, sci-fi

1-23-15, last rev = 3-04-17
2015 Dave Conklin