Siberia's Mysterious Hole

Recently on July 2014, a mysterious giant hole with diameter approximately up to 60 metres wide while its depth around up to 70 metres was discovered by a helicopter pilot in the Yamal peninsula tundra, part of Russia, northern Siberia where its name translates as 'the end of the world'. Since its discovery, several theories of what it caused has been proposed from a sinkhole, a meteorite, aliens/UFO, a stray missile, methane explosion related to gas drilling, and global warming.

A group of Russian scientists have been dispatched to investigate the crater but University of New South Wales polar scientist Dr Chris Fogwill says it’s likely to be a geological phenomenon called a pingo. He said that it's obvious from the images he had seen it looks like a periglacial feature, perhaps a collapsed pingo. According to wikipedia, a pingo (hydrolaccolith), is a mound of earth-covered ice found in the Arctic and subarctic that can reach up to 70 metres in height and up to 600 m in diameter. The ice can eventually push through the earth and when it melts away it leaves an exposed crater. The term was first borrowed by the Arctic botanist Alf Erling Porsild in 1938, which originated from the Inuvialuktun word for a small hill.

The Mysterious Giant Hole in Siberia

The Siberian hole appeared about 30 kilometres from Yamal's biggest gas field, Bovanenkovo, fuelling speculation there had been some sort of underground explosion. That theory is supported by the fact the earth appears to have been push up from underground.

A theory proposed by Anna Kurchatova from the Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Centre, she thinks the crater was formed by a water, salt and gas mixture igniting an underground explosion, the result of global warming. She suggested that global warming causing an 'alarming' melt in the under soil ice which released gas and then causing an effect like the popping of a Champagne bottle cork.

Andrey Plekhanov from Scientific Research Center of the Arctic told The Siberian Times that there was no traces of anthropogenic impact near the crater, just as there was no traces of human presence, except for very few sledge traces and of course reindeer traces and if it was a man-made disaster linked by gas pumping, it would have happened closer to the gas fields. However it's unlikely was caused by the gas explosion because the gas field is 30 km away from the crater.

He said i'ts more likely was formed due to rising temperatures. One theory is that a chunk of ice that is located underground that created a hole in the ground when it melted. Around 80 percent of the crater appeared to be made up of ice and that there were no traces of an explosion. This discovery eliminates the possibility that a meteorite had struck the region though such things have been common in Russia recently, also ruling out gas explosion and extra-terrestrial intervention.

He said that even though he has been to Yamal many times, he never seen anything like this. The crater is different from others on Yamal.

The experts say the phenomenon maybe a restarting of a process not seen for 8,000 years when the lake-pocked Yamal landscape was formed on what was once a sea.

Since the structure is so fragile, the scientists could not climb deep into the lake and had to send a camera down instead. Scientists reported from recent expedition revealed that the crater has an icy lake at its bottom, and water is cascading down its walls. The best theory for now is that the crater was formed by internal - not external forces.


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