Call for Papers: Icarus Special Section on the 1908 Tunguska Impact

The 1908 cosmic impact in the Tunguska region of Siberia has intrigued the public and puzzled scientists for more than a century. This event has generally been attributed to the airburst impact of either a comet or a stony asteroid. Unfortunately, no fragments of the exploding object have been recovered, and the first scientific survey was not carried out until two decades after the event. The data consist primarily of the distribution of fallen and burned trees and the topography at the site, a handful of eye witness accounts mostly from tens of kilometers (or greater) distance, seismic records, an atmospheric pressure wave that was measured around the world, and an atmospheric phenomenon called light (or white) nights that persisted for several nights in northern Europe.

Now is a good time to re-examine Tunguska. In the twentieth century, it was the only known case of extensive damage from a cosmic impact (estimated energy between 3 and 20 Megatons). In 2013, however, the Chelyabinsk bolide provided much more quantitative information on a destructive airburst, although with energy at least an order of magnitude less than Tunguska. The Chelyabinsk airburst has been extensively studied, and models are able to reproduce most aspects of this event. The insights and computational tools developed to understand Chelyabinsk can now be applied to Tunguska. In addition to their scientific interest, these airbursts provide valuable information for those planning planetary defense against asteroid impacts.

In January 2018, a workshop at NASA Ames Research Center brought together approximately 50 experts on impact airbursts to re-examine the Tunguska event in the light of recent work on Chelyabinsk and other bolides. Papers presented at this workshop, as well as other current work on Tunguska, are solicited for this special section of Icarus.

Submission Format:

The submitted papers must be written in English and describe original research which is not published nor currently under review by other journals or conferences. Author guidelines for preparation of manuscript can be found at

For more information, please contact the editorial office at [email protected].

Pre-submission questions regarding topics of interest can also be directed to the Guest Editors:

David Morrison, NASA Ames Research Center [email protected]

Darrel K. Robertson, NASA Ames Research Center [email protected]

Important Dates:

First submission: May 1, 2018

Deadline for paper submission: July 1, 2018

Reviewing process completed: January 1, 2019

Production completed: March 1, 2019

Submission Guidelines:

Manuscripts and any supplementary material should be submitted through the EVISE e-learning platform. The authors must select “Special Issue: Tunguska” when they reach the “Article Type” step in the submission process. The EVISE website is located at

Please feel free to suggest possible reviewers for your paper. Submitted manuscripts will go through the standard review process, and there is no guarantee that a given paper will be accepted for publication. Icarus has no page charges, but does charge for color art.

We encourage the redistribution of this announcement to any colleagues who you believe might have an interest in submitting a manuscript to the special issue.