Aliens or asteroid: What was blast of 1,000 Hiroshimas?

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It set off a massive explosion that flattened millions of trees in the Siberian wilderness and lit up the sky as far away as Britain.

A century later the Tunguska event still provokes intense debate over a blast 1,000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb.

This week advocates of rival theories have been holding conferences in Moscow to try to answer the question of what took place in the forests along the Tunguska River on June 30, 1908.

Most argue that the explosion was a comet or asteroid smashing into Earth. A lack of physical evidence – not least a credible impact crater – has led others to contend that the cause was a sudden eruption of gas from deep within the surface of Earth. Some even argue that an alien spacecraft blew up, or that a black hole made a freak appearance.

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Randll Reese Besch - 7/2/2008

By some estimates it exploded some five miles above and at an angle of trajectory.