Scientists have long believed that the flattening of miles of trees in the remote Tunguska region of Siberia on June 30, 1908 was due to a asteroid impact with the power of a 50 megaton nuclear bomb. Now a Russian geologist thinks it was caused by a liquid jet that shot up from inside the Earth under high pressure.

The asteroid theory leaves a lot of questions unanswered. No traces of an asteroid have ever been found in the soil. The strength of the blast wave, the radiation burn and the pine-tree mutations all resemble the results of a nuclear explosion, except there was no high radiation.

Vladimir Epifanov, of the Siberian Research Institute, thinks a powerful jet of liquid suddenly shot up from the depths of the Earth, due to breaks in the rock covering the gas and oil deposits beneath the ground. He believes gases from the oil deposits and methane from the coal beds, that had accumulated under a thick cover of basalt, suddenly broke through one day. A moderate earthquake could have initiated the process.

Nine days before the explosion, a narrow jet of gases rushed up to the surface. The fluid jet from under the earth brought dust up with it, which created a layer of aerosols in the upper atmosphere. If this layer became charged with electricity, it could have produced the spark that set off the explosion. A fire ball then exploded in the oxygen saturated atmosphere, and the blast wave flattened trees in a circular pattern for miles. However, the trees in the center of the impact zone survived, which would not be the case with an impact from space. An ice dome would have formed around the place where the gas discharged, protecting the trees at that spot.

We have no information about whether a similar type of explosion could occur again, in other gas and oil fields. While we?re nervously waiting for asteroid NT7 to hit us in 2060, the ground may explode out from under us.

There are mysteries all around us that have never been solved, but trust Dreamland reporter Linda Howe to get to the bottom of whatever she investigates. Read about her discoveries in ?Mysterious Lights and Crop Circles? and ?Glimpses of Other Realities: Volume II?,click here.

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