At 7:14 a.m. a MASSIVE explosion occurred near the Tunguska river in Russia. I'm not exaggerating. The force was somewhere between 5-30 megatons. Think about that: an explosion between 150 to 1000 TIMES the power of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb. And it happened 37 years before the nuclear age began.
And, purely by chance, it happened in a fairly uninhabited part of the Earth.
To this day it's exact cause is unknown, and it's simply called "The Tunguska Event". It's generally believed to have been a meteorite or comet that exploded before hitting the ground.
The shock wave it sent through the ground was a 5.0 on the Richter scale. Every tree in an 8 km (5 mile) radius from the center was killed, and the force of the explosion covered a total of 830 square miles (2,130 square km). An estimated 80 million trees were knocked over by the force- all of them pointing away from the center. A few were left standing, scorched black, with all their branches stripped off. People were knocked off their feet, and windows shattered, hundreds of miles away. The pressure wave was measured as far away as England. For the next several months there was a change in the density of the planet's upper atmosphere.
An eyewitness 40 miles south of the explosion, reported that "At breakfast time I was sitting by the house at Vanavara Trading Post, facing north. I suddenly saw that directly to the north, over Onkoul's Tunguska Road, the sky split in two and fire appeared high and wide over the forest. The split in the sky grew larger, and the entire northern side was covered with fire. At that moment I became so hot that I couldn't bear it, as if my shirt was on fire; from the northern side, where the fire was, came strong heat. I wanted to tear off my shirt and throw it down, but then the sky shut closed, and a strong thump sounded, and I was thrown a few yards. I lost my senses for a moment, but then my wife ran out and led me to the house. After that such noise came, as if rocks were falling or cannons were firing, the earth shook, and when I was on the ground, I pressed my head down, fearing rocks would smash it. When the sky opened up, hot wind raced between the houses, like from cannons, which left traces in the ground like pathways, and it damaged crops. Later we saw that many windows were shattered, and in the barn the iron lock had snapped."
There have been other impacts in recorded history, but none this powerful. And, over 100 years later, the scars are still there.
1921: 13 years after the event.
2008: 100 years after the event.