Methane explosion? Meteorite crater? Scientists baffled by gigantic 262ft hole that has appeared at Siberia’s ‘End of The World’
- Enormous crater appears suddenly in part of Russia whose name translates as ‘the end of the world’
- Teams of scientists are rushing east to fathom the cause of this unusual – and rare – geographical occurrence
- One especially outlandish theory talks about a UFO landing as a possible cause of this colossal chasm in the earth
An urgent expedition will leave tomorrow to probe a giant crater that has appeared in gas-rich northern Siberia.
Extraordinary aerial images show a mysterious hole which experts say may be up to 262 feet wide, in the ,of northern Russia.
‘A scientific team has been sent to investigate the hole and is due to arrive at the scene on Wednesday,’ The Siberian Times has reported.
What on earth is it? This enormous hole has appeared in a remote corner of Russia – and scientists are searching for answers
Opening up: The enormous crater could be caused by global warming, with gas exploding below the surface
The cause of the hole’s sudden appearance in Yamal – which translates as ‘the end of the world’ – in the far north of Siberia is not yet known.
There has been web speculation about the crater indicating ‘the arrival of a UFO craft’.
But one Russian expert says the cause is more likely to be global warming releasing gases under the surface, which then explode like a champagne cork.
Experts say that the darkening around the inner rim of the crater indicates ‘severe burning’ which scorched its edges.
‘There is agreement that soil around the hole was thrown out of the crater, large enough for several Mi-8 helicopters to fly into it,’ The Siberian Times reported – before adding ‘not that they have.’
The expedition organised by the Yamal authorities includes experts from Russia’s Centre for the Study of the Arctic, and also the Cryosphere Institute of the Academy of Sciences.
Very remote: The crater has appeared in Yamal – a part of Siberia whose name translates as ‘the end of the world’
Search for answers: Expedition teams are on their way to the site, hoping to work out the cause of the crater
The mysterious hole is in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region, some 20 miles from the Bovanenkovo gas field
They plan to take samples of soil, air and water from the scene.
They will be accompanied by a specialist from Russia’s Emergencies Ministry.
A spokesman for the ministry’s Yamal branch has ruled out a meteorite, but says it is too early to say what caused the hole.
‘We can definitely say that it is not a meteorite,’ he says.
Dim and distant: Yamal is a corner of Russia far removed from the cities of St Petersburg and Moscow
A place far far away: Yamal is is Russia’s main production area for gas supplied to Europe
Barren: Gas pipelines run through Yamal – but otherwise, in many places, there is little sign of life
Mysterious: One more outlandish theory suggests that the crater has been caused by the landing of a UFO
Anna Kurchatova from the Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Centre, thinks the crater was formed by a mixture of water, salt and gas igniting an underground explosion, a result of global warming.
Gas accumulated in ice could have mixed with sand beneath the surface, and then mixed with salt.
Some 10,000 years ago this area was a sea.
Who knows? Scientists are hoping to announce their findings as to the cause of the hole in the next few days
Global warming may have caused an ‘alarming’ melt in the under-soil ice, released gas and causing an effect like the popping of a Champagne bottle cork, Ms Kurchatova suggests.
Yamal, a large peninsula jutting into Arctic waters, is Russia’s main production area for gas supplied to Europe.
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