Tunguska eyewitness accounts, injuries, and casualties

1Peter Jenniskens, 2Olga P.Popova, 2Dmitry O.Glazachev, 2Elena D.Podobnaya, 3Anna P.Kartashova
Icarus (in Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2019.01.001]
1SETI Institute, 189 Bernardo Ave, Mountain View, CA 94043, United States
2Institute for Dynamics of Geospheres R. A. S., Moscow, Russia
3Institute of Astronomy R. A. S., Moscow, Russia
Copyright Elsevier

The airburst events at Chelyabinsk and Tunguska in Russia are the best-documented asteroid impacts of recent times. Models that assess the potential danger from such events rely on an accurate picture of their aftermath. Here, we re-examine the most critical eyewitness accounts of the Tunguska airburst, namely those that describe injuries and casualties, and those that paint a picture of what events were responsible. Not all relevant information has survived in the written record and there are contradictions that create some ambiguity. We find that inside and near the tree-fall area were at least 30 people. Many lost consciousness and at least 3 passed away (immediately or later) as a direct consequence of the Tunguska event. The airburst created a butterfly-shaped pattern of glass damage extending 4–5 times wider than that seen at Chelyabinsk. At these larger distances, there were no reported injuries from falls, shattering glass cuts, or from UV radiation exposure.

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