The tasks of the expedition

    The fundamental tasks of the expedition are:

1. The study of Ceko lacustrine sediments.  1. Microparticles coming from the disintegration of the cosmic body could have been collected and preserved in different natural environments, as swamps, tree resin and lacustrine sediments. The particles from the swamps have been accurately studied by Russian expeditions since the sixties. The search for microparticles in tree resin (as done by the first Italian expedition organized by the University of Bologna in 1991) made it possible to surely date the particles on the basis of tree rings. The lacustrine sediments, to be studied by the "Tunguska99" expedition, have probably the same advantage. The lake Ceko, 8 km away from the 1908 explosion "epicenter", about 500 m wide, and 47 m deep, has been chosen to search for sedimentary microparticles. The lake topography will be obtained by a satellite system (GPS) and a bathymetric profile net will be constructed with a digital ecograph. By using a "sub bottom penetration system", a stratigraphic map of the bottom will be obtained to choose the necessary instruments and the sites where the samples will be collected. At the same time, a "side scan sonar" will take ultrasound photographs of the lake bottom. Then, an accurate inspection of the lake bottom will be carried out by a remotely controlled underwater telecamera. Undisturbed samples will be collected by using a "box corer" and a sampling will be performed by using a gravity corer. The lake bottom inspection will be carried out by using the devices supplied by "Geological Assistance & Services" and by "Communication Technology". The search for microparticles in the collected core samples, the morphologic, chemical and isotopic analyses will be carried out in the Bologna and Turin laboratories.

   2. Magnetometric measurements, and radar and photographic observations. A topographic survey of the area will be performed using a GPS system in order to re-examine the aerophotographic material, obtained in 1938 under the direction of L.A. Kulik. The comparison between the 1938 pictures and the new survey should give further information on the direction of the trees felled by the explosion. Moreover, this comparison will make it possible to evaluate the changes of the environmental conditions and will provide a  contribution to the research program of the "Tunguska Natural Reserve". The presence of magnetic anomalies that previous ground investigations have attributed to the collisional event
will also be verified.

    3.The search for cosmic body fragments and tree samples. Some theories presented in 1996 at the Bologna conference on Tunguska presume that, before the explosion of the cosmic body, some macroscopic fragments fell in the south-east area with respect to the epicenter. Supposing that the cosmic body was chondritic, thus containing a high percentage of iron-nickel, the separation of fragments from ground rocks can be performed using neodymium magnets mounted on a special device together with a metal detector (Hall effect probe). This perfectly working system has been tested with good results during two expeditions in the western Egyptian desert and is available at the Physics Department of the Bologna University. Moreover, more samples of the trees surviving the explosion will be collected, in order to further the investigation carried out by the first Italian expedition.

    4. Cosmic ray measurements. The proposed expedition will also make it possible to measure cosmic rays with the high efficiency radiation detectors, already used by the Bologna group in Italy, Antarctica, Arctic, Everest valley (5000 m) and along the entire sea trip Ravenna-Antarctica-Ravenna. Gamma rays from cosmic radiation will be continuously recorded on time scale of one minute and in the 0.05-3 Mev, 3-5 Mev and 5-20 Mev energy bands. The comparison between previous measurements and the new ones will allow the study of cosmic ray variations with altitude, longitude, pressure, temperature, humidity, and solar activity.

Bologna, 6 May 1999

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