Combustion, Explosion and Shock Waves

, Volume 31, Issue 6, pp 715–721 | Cite as

Possible nature of the explosion of the Tunguska meteorite and the breakup of the Comet Shoemaker-Levy

  • A. G. Ivanov
  • V. A. Ryzhanskii


We consider the process of fracture of a solid celestial body with a certain strength entering a planetary atmosphere. Using an integral approach in fracture mechanics, we show that the process of fragmentation of a meteorite occurs in several stages and is completed when the maximum value of the aerodynamic drag is reached. The characteristic size of the fragments formed depends on the properties of the meteorite material. At the end of fragmentation, the stage of rapid deceleration of the fragments begins: “pumping” the energy of the meteorite into a shock wave. The proposed technique is illustrated using the examples of the interaction of the Tunguska meteorite with the Earth's atmosphere and the interaction of Comet Shoemaker—Levy with Jupiter's atmosphere.


Shock Wave Sandstone Celestial Body Cleavage Fracture Aerodynamic Drag 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    S. S. Grigoryan, “The nature of the Tunguska meteorite,” Dokl. Akad. Nauk SSSR,231, No. 1, 57–60 (1976).ADSGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    I. T. Zotkin and M. A. Tsykulin, ”Modeling the explosion of the Tunguska meteorite,” Dokl. Akad. Nauk SSSR,167, No. 1, 59–62 (1966).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    V. P. Korobeinikov, P. I. Chushkin, and L. V. Shurshalov, “Zone of ground devastation upon explosion of a large meteorite in the air,” Izv. Akad. Nauk SSSR, Mekh. Zhidk. Gaza, No. 3, 94–100 (1974).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    B. V. Voitsekhovskii, “The problem of the Tunguska meteorite,” Fiz. Goren. Vzryva,16, No. 5, 5–8 (1980).ADSMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    G. P. Cherepanov, Mechanics of Brittle Fracture [in Russian], Nauka, Moscow (1974).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    W. F. Weeks and A. Assur, “Fracture of lake and sea ice,” in: Fracture. Vol. 7, Pt. 1 [Russian translation], Mir, Moscow (1976), pp. 513–623.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    A. G. Ivanov, “Dynamic fracture and scaling effects (review),” Prikl. Mekh. Tekh. Fiz., No. 3, 116–131 (1994).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    A. G. Ivanov, “Role of inertial and elastic forces in dynamic fracture in the plastic region,” Dokl. Akad. Nauk SSSR,321, No. 1, 28–32 (1991).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Yu. I. Fadeenko, “Fracture of meteoric bodies in the atmosphere,” Fiz. Goren. Vzryva,3, No. 2, 278–280 (1967).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    B. A. Ivanov, “Advances in the mechanics of crater formation,” in: Mechanics. New Developments in Foreign Science. No. 26: Shock, Explosion, and Fracture [Russian translation], Mir, Moscow (1981), p. 204.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. G. Ivanov
  • V. A. Ryzhanskii

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations