A Natural Explosion That Knocked 80 Million Trees

By Anupum Pant

In the year 1908 (June 30), a remote part of Siberia experienced something really mysterious and really huge. It was an explosion that took place at about 5-10 km altitude in the air which was estimated to be as powerful as 1000 (or 185 according to NASA) Hiroshima bombs!

No one could ever figure out what really caused it. However, scientists were pretty sure that it was either a huge meteorite of about 100 feet (some say 1000 m) in diameter which crashed into the earth’s atmosphere and disintegrated, or it just bounced off the earth’s atmosphere like a huge skipping stone. Besides the scientific theories, there are a number of other “UFO and alien” stories that have been associated with this event. This was called the Tunguska event.

The sheer size: The explosion was utterly gigantic. So big, that it is still considered to be the most powerful natural explosion in the known history. The shock-waves from the explosion knocked people off their feet, and these people were 40 miles away from where the explosion happened. It wasn’t just people, 80 million trees over an area of 2,150 square kilometres were knocked down in a radial pattern (with trunks pointing away from the epicentre). 80 million! Wow!

It caused a mini earthquake and a NatGeo article says that the lake Checko could have been created due to this impact.

Eyewitness’ account:

Suddenly in the north sky… the sky was split in two, and high above the forest the whole northern part of the sky appeared covered with fire… At that moment there was a bang in the sky and a mighty crash… The crash was followed by a noise like stones falling from the sky, or of guns firing. The earth trembled.
[NASA website]

Had this taken place above a metro city, the city would have been completely levelled by the event. But that is highly unlikely because cities take up a very small fraction of area on the earth’s surface. Moreover, very rarely do such events happen.

What is very likely is that such an event could happen over the part which covers 70% of the earth’s surface – the ocean. Such an event could create a huge Tsunami causing a lot of destruction on land.

Pando – An Organism That Weighs 6 Million KG

By Anupum Pant

Blue whales weigh about 150 tons each. That is a 150,000 kg animal we are talking about! Incredible! It is the largest animal to have ever lived on earth. Yes, bigger than any of the dinosaurs. Just for the perspective, the heart of a blue whale can weigh about 600 kg and is almost the size of a Volkswagen Beetle car. A human can fit in its arteries. But, if you thought no other organism can be heavier than a blue whale, you are in for a surprise.

The heaviest organism we’ve ever found, lives in the Fishlake national forest, Utah. In fact, the organism itself is the forest. This forest is a Vatican-city-sized forest which looks like it has several identical trees in a normal forest. Only what looks like identical trees in a normal forest, is actually a single huge tree.

The absolutely humongous tree is known to have come out of a single seed about 80,000 years back. With time, it went on to spread its roots and has cloned itself by popping out about 47,000 other extant clones.

Since it is a single huge tree, it indeed acts like a single huge tree. When one of the shoots (tree) is in need of nutrients, the interconnected root system makes sure that the tree gets what it needs. Also, these trees transition from winter to spring simultaneously, just like a single huge tree would.

MinuteEarth explains it better in the video below:

Titin Protein – The Longest Word in English

By Anupum Pant

Background

No, I’m not talking about the fictional character Tintin. It’s Titin I’m talking about. The initial part of it is pronounced almost like Titan, but please do not confuse it with Titan.  Titin is the largest protein molecule ever discovered. Soon you’ll see why it is the largest…

Titin is the short name for an extremely massive protein molecule. The full-length scientific name of this protein molecule contains 189,819 characters and is considered (by some) as the longest word in not just English, but any language.

Others choose to not consider it a word at all. You won’t even find the full scientific name of Titin in any dictionary. According to lexicographers it is only a chemical formula, not a word. Technically, they are right. So, it is not really the longest word in English.

In that case, probably a lung disease called pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis can be considered the largest word. There are 45 letters in it. But my history teacher once told me that floccinaucinihilipilification (meaning, the estimation of something as worthless) was the longest word in English. Well, someone needs to tell me which one it really is. Till then, I’ll consider Titin as the undefeated champion…

What is it?

Titin is a protein found in certain kind of muscle tissues. It is the thing that makes those muscles elastic. For instance, in heart muscles – that expand and contract continuously for decades, without a break. The folded nature of this huge molecule makes it act like a spring – just like a long wire can be coiled into a small spring. The full chemical formula goes like this:

C132983H211861N36149O40883S693

I won’t spam my blog with the full name, but I’ll definitely point you to it. [Full name spelled out]. If you are too lazy to go there, it starts like this:

Methionylthreonylthreonylglutaminylalrylglycylphenylalanylprolylvalylprolyylglycylarginylalanyllysylleucylthreonylglutamylleucylleu…

and ends like this:

partylaspartylleucylthreonylthrnylaspartylvalylglutaminyllysylglutamilthreonylleucylserylleucylglycylasparalaspartylserylalanylthr…

The video: It takes about 233 minutes to pronounce the full chemical name – Yes, a guy tried it out (with video cuts of course). The gentleman pronounces it on camera for you. If you care enough to watch the whole 3 and half hour-long video, you’ll see how the man grows a stubble while pronouncing it. Also, you’ll see the plant dying out. But those are only gimmicks that makes the video funny. I’d like to add that his expression in the end is priceless. You shouldn’t miss that. Here, I’ve attached it for you below:

To use up the same amount of time in a better manner, I suggest that you watch the Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham debate.

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