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Tunguska, Russia, somewhere in Siberia. Importance: June 30, 1908, before the advent of the atom bomb mind you, an explosion about the size of 1000 Hiroshima bombs occured above the earth's surface. Favorite theories: small chunk of antimater, tiny black hole passing through the earth (though would have had same effect on other side), or most commonly held theory that a comet hit the atmosphere and blew up before actually hitting the earth. Russians have a tank named after it.

One curious hypothesis is that it is a result of an experiment Nikola Tesla
was performing gone awry while using the Earth's magnetic field to generate electricity. Not to be taken too seriously, at least, no more than the other possibilities 8).

The X-files

Tunguska (Part 1 of 2)
Episode: 4X09
First aired: 12/24/96
Written by: Frank Spotnitz and Chris Carter
Directed by: Rob Bowman

A great episode dealing with the alien conspiracy.

While performing a random search of a suitcase being carried by a man claiming to have diplomatic immunity, an airport customs agent is attacked by a black oil that congeals into tiny worms which penetrate his skin.

An anonymous tipster warns Mulder about a right-wing militia organization planning a bombing which could be the next Oklahoma City. The informant turns out to be Alex Krycek, the traitor Mulder blames for his father's murder. Left trapped in an abandoned missile silo by the Cigarette-Smoking Man, Krycek says he was freed by a militia group during a salvage operation. Claiming he wants revenge on the Cigarette-Smoking Man, Krycek promises Mulder that he can help expose the Cigarette-Smoking Man and the Syndicate. Despite his hatred for Krycek, Mulder reluctantly believes him.

Krycek leads Mulder and Scully to intercept a Russian courier at the airport. The courier escapes, but the diplomatic pouch he is carrying is recovered. The pouch contains a four-billion-year-old rock of extraterrestrial origin. Dr. Sacks, a government exobiologist, drills into the rock. The same black worms which killed the customs agent emerge from the rock and attack him. Scully and Pendrell investigate this deadly enigma. Mulder's possession of the artifact alarms the Well-Manicured Man, who orders the Cigarette-Smoking Man to take care of the problem.

Mulder seeks out his UN contact, Marita Covarrubias, who finds out the origin of the Russian courier's flight. Mulder learns the flight originated near Tunguska, Siberia and instantly recognizes the significance. In 1908, a fireball crashed to earth in Tunguska, igniting a series of cataclysmic explosions. It was the most massive and most mysterious event of its kind in history. Until now, no one had been able to discover what really happened. Maybe someone has finally found out the truth...

Marita helps Mulder with credentials that will get him to Tunguska. At the last minute, Mulder discovers Krycek is fluent in Russian, and brings him along as a translator.

Mulder and Krycek discover a Siberian gulag labor camp located at the site of the crash -- its hard-laboring prisoners sentenced to mine the extraterrestrial rocks. Before they can learn any more, they are captured, beaten and jailed. Mulder realizes Krycek is in league with their captors. Krycek is freed, and Mulder is subjected to an inhuman medical experiment. Under the most primitive of conditions, Mulder and other prisoners are infected with the oily black worms.

To be continued ...

Important Quotes:

Scully -- "What I am saying is that there is a culture of lawlessness that has prevented me from doing my job. That the real target of this committee's investigation should be the men who are beyond prosecution and punishment. The men whose policies are behind the crimes that you are investigating."

Krycek -- "Hey, you go underground, you gotta learn to live with the rats."
Mulder -- "I'm sure you had no trouble adapting. "

Scully -- "Mulder, that rock contains fossils of what is believed to be alien bacteria, and even that is under intense debate."
Mulder -- "Why all this effort to get it onto U.S. soil? I think what Alex Krycek has given us is the pivotal piece to an even larger plot."
Scully -- "What he's given us, Mulder, is a rock. Alex Krycek is a liar, and a murderer."
Mulder -- "Who wants to expose the same men that we do and will go to any lengths to succeed."
Scully -- "What I'm worried about is you, Mulder and how far you'll go. And how far I can follow you."

Back to The X-files: Season 4

1) Lower Tunguska

(Russian: Nizhnyaya Tunguska)

River in Siberia, a tributary of the Yenisei; 2989 km long. The Lower Tunguska cuts through the Central Siberian Mountains. In its upper course, it runs through deep valleys with many waterfalls. In its lower course, it expands into large lakes.

Frozen from October to May, the Lower Tunguska is navigable during the spring up to the settlement of Tura.

2) Stony Tunguska

(Russian: Podkamennaya Tunguska)

River in Siberia, a tributary of the Yenisei; 1865 km long. The Stony Tunguska, like its namesake above, cuts through the Central Siberian Mountains, running in deep valleys with many waterfalls. Frozen, too, from October to May, the Stony Tunguska is navigable for over 1145 km during spring.

3) The Tunguska Incident

Explosion in the atmosphere above the Siberian tundra, near the Stony Tunguska river, on June 30, 1908.

Although a number of wacky theories have been presented to account for the explosion, and much myth surrounds it, the consensus among serious scientists is that the explosion was astronomical in origin. It is generally considered likely that an astronomical object (probably made of ice, possibly a cometary fragment), observed over China and Lake Baikal, exploded at an altitude of about 8 km.

The Tunguska explosion released energy corresponding to approximately 13 megatons, devastating an area of about 2000 km2. Trees were knocked over at up to 52 km from the epicenter, and the pressure wave from the impact travelled twice around the globe.

The first scientific expedition to Tunguska, led by L. Kulik, arrived at the remote area in 1927. Attempts at that time (and since) to locate a crater have been fruitless. Likewise, examining core samples from Greenland's ice cap has not produced any traces of iridium, generally considered a reliable indicator of cosmic impacts, for the years 1908 to 1910. A Danish/Russian team, working in 1999, determined that the traces of iridium and carbon in samples from the site indicated that the object had to have been composed of very pure ice, which would also account for the lack of a crater - since such an object would have disintegrated entirely through atmospheric friction.

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