120-foot asteroid hit Earth and destroyed a huge region in Russia; NASA explains
NASA says that a man, sitting on his chair, was hurled to the ground and it got so hot that his shirt seemed to have caught fire. He was 40 miles away from ground zero!
When he gave the account, NASA quoted him as saying, "Suddenly in the north sky… the sky was split in two, and high above the forest the whole northern part of the sky appeared covered with fire… At that moment there was a bang in the sky and a mighty crash… The crash was followed by a noise like stones falling from the sky, or of guns firing. The earth trembled."
The locals believed the blast was a visitation by a god, who had "cursed the area by smashing trees and killing animals," NASA said.
Night skies glowed, and reports came in that people who lived as far away as Asia could read newspapers outdoors as late as midnight, NASA said.
Now, it is estimated that a 120-foot wide asteroid exploded in the atmosphere over Siberia. The asteroid had impacted near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in remote Siberia in Russia.
How important was it? Don Yeomans, manager of the Near-Earth Object Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2008 said, "It is the only entry of a large meteoroid we have in the modern era with first-hand accounts."
However, while the impact occurred in 1908, the first scientific expedition to the area went there after 19 years in 1921, but it failed due to the tough terrain. The next expedition did reach the area, but that was in 1927.
The destruction? 800 square miles of remote forest had been ripped asunder. Eighty million trees were on their sides, lying in a radial pattern, says NASA.
The crashing asteroid generated a seismic shockwave that registered on sensitive barometers as far away as England.
The speed at which the asteroid hit the atmosphere was estimated at around 33500 mph.
The asteroid weighed around 220-million pounds and heated the air surrounding it to 44500 degrees Fahrenheit. The asteroid exploded at a height of about 28000 feet.
The total energy released by the explosion, says NASA, was about 185 Hiroshima bombs. That is why no impact crater was found in Tunguska.