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*REPOST* The Mystery of the Siberian Explosion

An Environmental History of the Tunguska Event


Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building (ILSB) : 230

Date & Time

September 27, 2022, 5:30 pm6:45 pm


This event is organized by the Department of History. Original event posted here.

The Mystery of the Siberian Explosion: An Environmental History of the Tunguska Event

Andy Bruno, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of History, Northern Illinois University

In 1908 the Tunguska explosion in Siberia knocked down an area of forest larger than London. Most scientists believe that a fragment of an asteroid or a comet caused the blast, but neither a crater nor unmistakable remnants of a meteorite have ever been found. Over the last century, the mysterious nature of the event has prompted a wide array of speculation and investigation, including from science fiction writers and voluntary researchers. Some have even explained Tunguska as a nuclear explosion triggered by aliens. This presentation will recount the intriguing history of the Tunguska event and the investigations into it. Foregrounding the significance of mystery in environmental history, it will show how efforts to understand the explosion have shaped the treatment of the landscape, how uncertainty allowed alternative forms of knowledge to enter scientific conversations, and how cosmic disasters have influenced the past and might affect the future.

For more information, please contact Carlon Ison, Administrative Assistant in the Department of History - ison@umbc.edu.

Image description: A black and white image of a large area covered in downed trees.