A Russian scientist has claimed that he has found the first fragments of a mystery object which caused a huge explosion over Siberia more than a century ago.
The Tunguska Event in June 1908 saw a mysterious blast more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb flatten trees over an 800 square mile radius, knock people from their feet and shatter windows.
The widely accepted theory is that the explosion was caused by an asteroid or comet breaking up as it entered the Earth’s atmosphere.
He found the rocks on an exploration of the area back in 1988 and collected more than 100 rocks from the bed of the nearby Khushmo River.
But it was only on examination of the rocks two decades later in 2008 that Zlobin, of the Vernadsky State Geology useum in Moscow, found three that showed signs of melting and regmaglypt impressions in them.
They are sometimes created when a space rock makes a fiery entry into Earth’s atmosphere.
He believes that the explosion would not have created enough heat to melt the rocks if they were already on the ground and believes that the rocks were heated during the explosion in the air.
The finds have yet to be chemically analysed so there is no proof that the rocks – named ‘dental crown’, ‘whale’ and ‘boat’ – are from outerspace.
Even when tested they may not prove whether the explosion was caused by asteroid or comet because comets can contain fragments of rock.
Previous explorations of the area have turned up other evidence such as tiny metallic spheres which could be shrapnel from the object and even a ground-penetrating radar view of a possible impact crater.
Zlobin published his work on the website arXiv.org.