Tunguska! Arguably an exceptionally bizarre natural catastrophe and “the cosmic mystery of the century” (p. xl), it grips the imagination of scientist and layman alike. The event took place in central Siberia (60°55′ N, 101°57′ E) at 7:15 a.m. on 30 June, 1908, when a fireball brighter than the sun and descending northwest-ward, exploded some 5 km above the surface with the force of 40 megatons of TNT (1023 ergs), felling trees over a tract of 2150 km2 (precisely four times the area of the Island of Montreal). The blast was seen and heard as far as 700...

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