Don’t throw rocks at me

To the editor:

On Feb. 15 a stray asteroid is due to pass close to Earth, but do not be shocked. Astronomers say that up to 1,000 asteroids are large enough to pose a potential risk to our Earth. Two to four thousand are about one-third of a mile in diameter and pass close to Earth each year, large enough to do regional damage.

This asteroid that is closing in is only 150 feet in diameter. The ones that hit Earth 65 million years ago and killed off the dinosaurs were 5 to 8 miles in diameter. Such an asteroid hit Arizona in prehistoric time, leaving a crater three-quarters of a mile wide. The ADE printed an article similar on July 28, 1999 (Washington Associated Press).

At 7:17 a.m. local time on June 30, 1908, something occurred in the Tungus region of Siberia, which is about 700 miles north of Lake Baikal, Russia. (We studied this when I was in fifth-grade geography class.) Residents of that region reported that they saw a fireball crossing the sky that was so bright that even the sun looked dark. From the force of the blast, horses were thrown from their feet 400 miles away. The fire pillar was seen 250 miles away in Kerensk, Russia. A farmer, S.B. Semenov, sitting on his steps 40 miles away, was thrown from the steps. When he regained from the blast, he felt the aftershock of the blast. His neighbor, P.P. Kosolapov, also verified this, as it had burned his ears. A Tungus tribesman reached the site to find that the blast had wiped out a herd of 1,500 reindeer and all other animals, yet formed no crater! What really happened? Many theories, no conclusions!

Ted Morrow

Saranac Lake


ADE article, 1999

“The World’s Last Mysteries,” Reader’s Digest, 1976 (seventh print, 1982)

“Our Universe,” National Geographic