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View Diary: BREAKING: Meteor airburst over Chelyabinsk (318 comments)

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  •  Ask him: (11+ / 0-)

    What is it with Russia and meteor explosions? They had a huge one in 1908:

    ...about 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan;...The Tunguska explosion knocked an estimated 80 million trees down over an area covering 2,150 square kilometres (830 sq mi).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    The area was so remote it probably only killed a few herders.  Nobody at first had a clue what had happened; they figured it out by the pattern of all the knocked down trees.

    I'm sure there's plenty of profanity in those videos!

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 11:42:22 PM PST

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    •  When I was a kid I read an article (10+ / 0-)

      about Tunguska. I don't remember what magazine it was in. Back in those days I was mostly reading radio and electronics magazines, but why one of those would have had an article about Tunguska, I don't know.

      Anyway the article made out like this was some mysterious phenomenon, maybe a partial gram of anti-matter or a comet striking the earth. I don't know whether the people who wrote this article were genuinely clueless, or whether back in 1966 they honestly didn't know what caused the Tunguska blast and only figured it out within the last 50 years.

      If you can't say anything nice about the GOP, please post here more often.

      by Omir the Storyteller on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 12:16:47 AM PST

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      •  It was a crop circle (5+ / 0-)

        on an epic scale!

        I jest, I jest...don't know what writers for pop science magazines knew back then.  I wasn't yet old enough to be reading them.  ;-D

        Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

        by Youffraita on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 12:38:31 AM PST

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      •  And the Brazilian Tunguska of 1930 (16+ / 0-)

        which the report below credits to the annual Perseid meteor shower.

        "The Daily Herald describes the fall of 'three great meteors...[which]... fired and depopulated hundreds of miles of jungles... The fire continued uninterrupted for some months, depopulating a large area. Unfortunately, although the fall is said to have occurred around "8 o'clock in the morning" and to have been preceded by remarkable atmospheric disturbances (a "blood-red" Sun, an ear-piercing "whistling" sound, and the fall of fine ash which covered trees and vegetation with a blanket of white), few details are provided that constrain the time and place of the event. Nevertheless, the story refers to an article in the papal newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, apparently written by a Catholic missionary "Father Fidello, of Aviano" and it is to this that we now turn.

        --snip--

        In the forests of the Rio Curaca... on the 13th August 1930 there fell three great bolides from the heights of space. The strange event was followed by such a combination of natural phenomena and upheavals, that the 'seringuleros'... is the men working in the forest to extract rubber, believed they were witnessing a cataclysm presaging the end of the world...

        --snip--

        On the morning of 13th August the sky was clear and a glorious equatorial sun had risen to usher in the new day. The seringuleros had begun their daily work venturing into the heart of the forest; fishermen were already throwing their nets into the river, and women on the river banks were washing the few items of clothing needed around here. Suddenly, at about eight o'clock, the sun became blood-red and darkness spread over everything, almost as if a thick cloud had intercepted the sun's rays... but there is no cloud... only the appearance of reddish dust in the atmosphere, giving the impression of an immense fire that would reduce to ashes all the elements of nature. Fine ash begins to fall on the plants of the forest and on the waters of the river... when suddenly a multiple hissing noise is heard from on high, sounding like whistles or artillery shells... and the hissing noise comes closer and closer to the earth and becomes more and more frightening, so much so that the children instinctively put their hands over their heads and crouch down, running to hide... Some fishermen did have courage, and while standing in the middle of the river raised their eyes to the sky and saw large balls of fire which fell from the sky like thunderbolts. They landed in the centre of the forest with a triple shock similar to the rumble of thunder and the splash of lightning. There were three distinct explosions, each stronger than the other, causing earth tremors like those of an earthquake. A very light rain of ash continued to fall for a few hours and the sun remained veiled till midday. The explosions of the bodies were heard hundreds of kilometres away..."

        The meteor event occurred in the upper Amazon region close to the border between Brazil and Peru. And it occurred on August 13, 1930, "a date that almost exactly coincides with the observed maximum of the annual Perseid meteor shower."

        The SAO/NASA Astrophysics Date System report then goes into the analysis of that meteor event.


        One may live without bread, but not without roses.
        ~Jean Richepin
        Bread & Roses

        by bronte17 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 02:06:11 AM PST

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      •  In 1966 they didn't believe in plate techtonics (7+ / 0-)

        yet. Science has made huge strides in the past few years.

        •  Which is why so many (9+ / 0-)

          nuclear power plants 'just happened' to be built atop seismically active faults and only recently determined to present a much greater danger than was 'known' at the time they were sited. Back in the early-mid '60s teachers used to laugh at and ridicule geography students who noticed how well Africa and central/south America fit together (as if they'd once been connected). Which, they now say, they were, back in Pangea days...

          •  I'm sure this happened in a lot of schools (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Just Bob, Joieau, Troubadour
            Back in the early-mid '60s teachers used to laugh at and ridicule geography students who noticed how well Africa and central/south America fit together (as if they'd once been connected).
            But I was fortunate. In 1961 I was in the 7th grade. Our science teacher pointed to Africa and South America and asked what we thought happened there, geologically. But this was post-Sputnik and science and math were taken very seriously until Reagan became our governor.

            "Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall" - President Obama, January 20, 2013

            by savano66 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 09:23:14 AM PST

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            •  I was ahead on another (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Just Bob, Troubadour

              '60s scientific paradigm shift because my Dad was an early BB [Big Bang] believer while we were being taught in school about a SS [Steady State] universe. Moved over Christmas break in 7th grade to another state. The new school had new textbooks, all of a sudden the universe had a beginning.

              Didn't much matter where you went to school, science was almost always taught from the textbook and imparted as if some sort of Absolute Truth. Not that many of us knew that impression is entirely false, and I always thought it was a lousy way of getting kids excited about science. I mean, if everything is Known as Absolute Truth during one textbook's shelf life, why would anybody want to be a scientist?

            •  And it's always some specific (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Troubadour

              theory arising from some specific evidence that "all of a sudden" turns the scientific world upside down. At least, that's how it seems to the public, which isn't usually in on the divergent sub-theories and accumulating evidence over time - sometimes decades or even centuries - so that it only takes that one last tidbit to flip a whole way of understanding the world/universe.

              I seem to recall that for plate tectonics it was confirmation that ancient bedrock formations on the Atlantic edge of northern Brazil and western edge of Gabon, Africa had originally been part of the same formation. Something like that, anyway. For Big Bang it was quantification of the CMB [Cosmic Background Radiation] in 1964.

        •  I was just thinking about that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Just Bob, Troubadour

          When I was a kid (mid 60s) I remember my parents taking me to see Dry Falls over in eastern Washington. There was a sign that said the Columbia River had once gone over these falls with a volume many times that of Niagara, but no one knew why it changed course. Not long after that scientists began to accept the theory based on geological evidence that Dry Falls was an artifact of Lake Missoula breaking through its ice dam and inundating what is now eastern Washington, creating a new course for the Columbia that included Dry Falls. When Lake Missoula finished emptying, the Columbia returned to its normal course and the falls once again became dry. Apparently this happened several times.

          We learn and discover new things all the time and there is still so much to learn and discover. Western science is so wonderful.

          If you can't say anything nice about the GOP, please post here more often.

          by Omir the Storyteller on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 10:47:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Russia is huge. (12+ / 0-)

      The larger the area, the greater the chances. We just don't know about the ones that have hit the oceans.

      "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

      by GrumpyOldGeek on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 01:41:57 AM PST

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    •  Well, Russia's pretty big. (16+ / 0-)

      If something's going to hit land in the Northern Hemisphere, it's got decent to good odds of hitting Russia.

      It would be weirder if the meteors always hit Luxembourg.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 04:55:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's large. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Just Bob, Troubadour, Shippo1776

      Russia is the largest nation on Earth, with 11% of the planet's land surface, almost twice that of China, Canada or the United States.  There's more Russia to hit, therefore more hits Russia.  

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 11:13:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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