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Re: Planet X: TUNGUSKA as Example

In Article <> Jonathan wrote:
> The type of release described here is impossible on dry
> land - one needs the pressure of the water above to hold
> the gas down. In any other instance, the gas would
> slowly diffuse into the air in near-undetectable
> quantities.

This issue was discussed during the 1997 sci.astro debates.  Here's a
couple pages from the past ...


Article: <5hgm29$>
From: Nancy Lieder
Subject: Re: TUNGUSKA
Date: 28 Mar 1997

In article <5gvni6$7ks$> Wavicle writes:
>> The explosion did indeed occur close to the ground, in a
>> highly concentrated methane cloud that consumed all the
>> oxygen in the immediate area during the blast.
>>    ZetaTalk™
> The burning requires more oxygen molecules than methane
> molecules by a factor of 3. Our atmosphere is something
> like 22% oxygen. Just how dense (in moles per cubic feet
> of methane) was this cloud?

    Precisely. Which is why a violent combustion will snuff
    itself out! The explosion left no oxygen in the air for
    smoldering burning of the scrub pine in Siberia. Thus,
    no forest fire.



Article: <5hglv6$>
From: Nancy Lieder
Subject: Re: TUNGUSKA
Date: 28 Mar 1997

<> Richard Caldwell wrote:
> In the midwest, on hot days, an empty wheat elevator full of
> wheat dust can explode, because the burning is contained
> and compressed by the elevator itself. No argument here,
> under the proper conditions, methane can definitely explode.
> My argument is that a cloud of loose methane in the
> atmosphere is not "the proper conditions".

    Heat creates pressure as it creates EXPANSION. Heat on
    all sides of a methane gas mixture that itself is burning will
    create PRESSURE from the sides that is as much a
    container as the walls of a wheat elevator or the smooth
    walls of a piston engine.


<> Richard Caldwell wrote:
> What ignited this methane? If it was ignited at just one point,
> no explosion will occur and that is definite. It will simply burn
> in a big ball of flame, starting at the ignition point and moving
> around the perimeter of the cloud. The only way the military gets
> their fuel/air bombs to explode is by "seeding" the cloud with a
> large number of small detonator bomblets that are all set to go
> off at a specific altitude. By detonating the cloud at numerous
> places, they force it to burn much more quickly than it normally
> would.

    Sparks occur in the atmosphere due to friction between
    moving air masses, the very thing that causes lightning
    flashes. A large amount of methane gas wafting upward
    along with the prevailing westerlies would stir the mix
    unduly as methane is LIGHTER than air and thus would
    create an inordinate number of UPDRAFTS. This spark
    traveled along the wick of methane leading back to the

    Your explosion was caused NOT because a methane
    gas mixture was burning on this side or that, or even top
    and sides of the cloud, but because it was a HUGE cloud
    of well mixed methane and air, equivalent to all the
    natural gas being piped about in the US at any given
    time, and the burn spread around this cloud or that,
    under and over and around, until a particular pocket of
    well mixed methane and air had NO WHERE TO GO
    WITH ITS HEAT since the burn was all around. Itself
    burning, the heat ramped the combustion up to the
    explosion level.