What's the deal with the 'Devil's Cemetery' at Tunguska?

Apparently, there’s some weird shit going down.

Dead animals not decomposing? So the meteorite sterilized the place? Huh?

Some of it just doesn’t make sense:

Holy crap, a compass pointed north? No kidding? A radio froze? In Siberia? No shit? I’m not really sure what this is supposed to show.

So there’s nothing on Snopes, and the Master has not weighed in on this that I can find. So what’s the deal? Is this for real?

I’ve never heard of this particular set of claims, but there’s been no end of whacko claims about the Tunguska meteorite. Aleksandr Kazantsev wrote a science fiction story and a supposedly factual article about the meteorite, and either soimeone confused his fiction for reality, or Kazantsev himself told some whoppers, because they were reported in English as fact – a “mushroom cloud” after the impact, people with scars woulnds that didn’t heal properly and resembled Hiroshima radiation burns, and so on. (See Frank Edward’s book Stranger than Science. Although Edwards might be the source of the confusion – he frequently screwed up the facts in such a way that he got an eerier story. Kazantsev’s story is in Asimov’s anthology Soviet Science Fiction.) Ultimately, Kazantsev/Edwards claimed the event was due to an exploding alien spacecraft.

That would be funny, except that in 1976 Baxter and Atkins wrote The Fire Came By, making the same claim. (Asimov – who had ridiculed the idea in his intro to Soviet Science Fiction, wrote an intro praising the idea for this book. He later said that James Oberg brought him back to his senses)
Sometime later, another Russian claimed that the Tunguska event wasn’t even caused by a physical object – it was somehow due to radio transmissions by the inhabitants of Cygnus 66, responding to the radio emissions from the eruption of Krakatoa. This might sound like National Enquirer fodder, but the theory was published in the US in Time magazine.
That’s not even including the people who think the event was due to a quantum black hole (there were lots of them, after the original, somewhat tongue-in-cheek article in Astrophysical Review), or anti-matter, or other odd things.

Leonid Kulik and Yevgeniy L. Krinov, both of whom visited the site within decades of the event, recorded nothing about lack of decomposition or any of these odder things. In fact, they found lots of dead and decaying trees, knocked over away from the blast center, and a twenty year growth of sphagnum moss in the center.

I don’t know about the decomposing animals, but the other phenomena are consistent with a very high magnetic field.

Please post references to this claim.

Photographic evidence?

Anything more than just a hearsay claim?

The quote said “My compass’s hand froze and pointed at the North only.” The only sensible interpretation of this is that the needle froze while pointing to “N” and subsequently didn’t move regardless of the orientation of the compass.

If I am not mistaken, that’s exactly how a compass is supposed to work. :slight_smile:

No - the needle is supposed to point toward magetic north at all times. It will point toward the “N” only when the compass is turned so that the N is in fact north. It can easily be made to point to the “S”, the “E” or anywhere else, simply by moving the compass.

IOW, a drawing that shows a needle pointing toward “N” isn’t quite the same thing as a compass.

Speaking of wacko claims, have you checked other articles on the site? They’re more like things you’d read in the Weekly World news. “Pyramids discoverd on Mars!” and so forth.

In Pravda, there is no truth. :wink:

Is Pravda actual news or just a tabloid?

Edit: According to Wikipedia it’s a tabloid. Oh well. False alarm.

That still doesn’t mean anything, though, other than the needle is stuck. “Holy crap, the needle won’t move! Either some moisture got in the casing and the Siberian weather froze it, Bob sat on the thing and broke it, or we have aliens…We got aliens!!!”

Never overestimate a ufologist’s grasp of Occam’s razor.

Don’t know if this will shed any light on the subject, but I read an article about a recent team of researchers that were investigating a small lake at ground zero that they thought might contain remnants of the meteor.

They didn’t mention anything weird about the area they were in.

Oftentimes “tabloid” refers to the physical size of the newspaper, not the content.

So should I trust it as a source or not?

Pravda is not a trustworthy source. It is the equivalent of the USA’s Weekly World News.

That was the Macguffin in one of David Brin’s novels, as I recall. Earth, perhaps?

Don’t you get that after any large-enough explosion, implosion, impact…? I’ve seen video of controlled demolitions which produced one.

People associate “mushroom clouds” with “radiation” but IIRC the cloud is from any big-enough BOOM.

hotflungwok, Pravda used to be The Soviet Newspaper; back then it was propaganda, nowadays it’s on the bad side of the National Enquirer. The most serious piece of reporting they do is “lamb with five legs born in Romania.”

You are correct. Any large explosion that kicks off a lot of heat will produce a mushroom cloud.

Back in 1989, the volcano Mt. Redoubt in Alaska blew up and produced this kick ass image of a mushroom cloud. No nukes, just a volcano.

As far as the Tunguska event goes, I think the current theories among people who aren’t whack jobs is that it was a comet that blew up in the atmosphere above the area. (The heat from the atmospheric entry boiled the water in the comet and… BOOM!) You wouldn’t have the ground effect aiding mushroom cloud formation there, but you might get it anyway because hot air and cold air just kind of form those things anyway. Hell, look at a smoke ring. The linked image even has satan’s own smoke rings around the “stem” of the mushroom. I wonder what kind of cigars they smoke in Hell.

Anyway, I don’t think mushroom clouds were CalMeacham’s point. I think that he’d agree that whatever happened there could have produced one. He’s just saying that the reports are pretty unreliable.

I’m all for slamming pravda.ru at every possible opportunity because of its pissweak excuse for journalism, but let’s get the facts straight here. Pravda.ru (a/k/a Pravda Online) was founded by editors and journalists who broke off from Pravda and is not related to the original newspaper in any way beyond that connection. The original Pravda is still in existence here. It’s a much more politically serious newspaper than its breakaway counterpart; I don’t agree with a lot of what they say but to their credit they try to avoid the five-legged lamb kind of story.

Just because it’s Siberia doesn’t mean it’s cold :rolleyes:

Summer temps in Krasnoyarsk average out at 25C (mid-70F) and rarely drop below 10C (50F).

It gets chilly in winter, but mid-summer in Siberia is kinda nice (if you can avoid the mozzies).

(Edit: Krasnoyarsk is pretty big, so the north gets a lot colder than the south, but it still far from frozen around the Podkamennaya River which is where the event took place)

tch, tch, tch. So touchy. As MwaG points out, it’s that the report is unreliable — Kulik and other workers didn’t report anything like a “mushroom cloud” in their data. And while it’s true that the term didn’t exist back then., it’s equally unlikely that Kazantsev/Edwards could then claim that one was present. It’s pretty cleatrly used to evoke the image of a nuclear explosion to help sell the case.