The Tunguska event (occasionally also called the Tunguska incident) was an approximately 12-megaton explosion that occurred near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Yeniseysk Governorate (now Krasnoyarsk Krai), Russia, on the morning of June 30, 1908. The explosion over the sparsely populated Eastern Siberian Taiga flattened an estimated 80 million trees over an area of 2,150 km2 (830 sq mi) of forest, and eyewitness reports suggest that at least three people may have died in the event. The explosion is generally attributed to a meteor air burst: the atmospheric explosion of a stony asteroidabout 50–60 metres (160–200 feet) in size.: p. 178 The supposed asteroid approached from the east-southeast, and likely with a relatively high speed of about 27 km/s (60,000 mph) (~Ma 80). It is classified as an impact event, even though no impact crater has been found; the object is thought to have disintegrated at an altitude of 5 to 10 kilometres (3 to 6 miles) rather than having hit the surface of the Earth.
The Tunguska event is often considered as the largest impact event on Earth in recorded history, though much larger impactshave occurred in prehistoric times. An explosion of this magnitude would be capable of destroying a large metropolitan area. It has been mentioned numerous times in popular culture, and has also inspired real-world discussion of asteroid impact avoidance.
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