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Australian Indigenous Astronomy

Finding meteorite impacts in Aboriginal oral tradition

26 Mar 2015, 23:41 UTC
Finding meteorite impacts in Aboriginal oral tradition
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Dr Duane Hamacher (University of New South Wales)Imagine going about your normal day when a brilliant light races across the sky. It explodes, showering the ground with small stones and sending a shock wave across the land. The accompanying boom is deafening and leaves people running and screaming.This was the description of an incident that occurred over the skies of Chelyabinsk, Russia on February 15, 2013, one of the best recorded meteoritic events in history. This airburst was photographed and videoed by many people so we have a good record of what occurred, which helped explain the nature of the event.But how do we find out about much older events when modern recordings were not available?A century before Chelyabinsk, a similar event occurred on July 30, 1908, over the remote Siberian forest near Tunguska.That explosion was even more powerful, flattening 80 million trees over an area of 2,000 square kilometres and sending a shock wave around the Earth – twice. It was 19 years before scientists reached the Tunguska site to study the effects of the blast.Effects of the Tunguska blast 19 years after the event. Some of the trees flattened by the airburst can still be seen to this day. Leonid KulikClick ...

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