A huge crater has mysteriously formed in a region of Siberia commonly known as the “end of the world.”
After a video of the 260-foot-wide crater surfaced online, Russian scientists mobilized, and were set to appear in the area today to attempt to assess its origins.
So far, a government spokesperson in the Yamal peninsula has commented that the crater is not the result of a meteor strike, as no meteor large enough to have caused such a crater would have gone unnoticed by the oil workers or indigenous Nenets reindeer herders who inhabit the peninsula. Researchers have likewise assured conspiracy theorists that the hole is not a landing site of an alien spacecraft, or a result of weapons testing.
One geologic theory is that warming temperatures caused permafrost to melt and release natural gas, akin to a cork shooting out of a bottle of champagne. The crater is situated roughly 20 miles from Russia’s Bovanenkovo gas field, so the theory is plausible.
Here is a clip of the mystery hole:
Some have called the clip of the crater, which was discovered by Mi-8 transport helicopter pilots, a hoax.
— Lluís Ahicart (@lluisahicart) July 16, 2014
Another possibility surrounds mounds that regularly form beneath the tundra during the summer, as the pressure of meltwater from the thaw builds up beneath the surface. When the internal pressure becomes too great, the mounds can explode with such a force to where earth and debris are ejected a considerable distance.
Gigantic hole that opened up in Siberia might be a pingo. Planets are amazing, aren't they? http://t.co/CRTtDyzpXp
— Dr. Phil Metzger (@Philtill777) July 16, 2014
A pingo, also called a hydrolaccolith, is a mound of earth-covered ice found in the Arctic and subarctic that can reach up to 230 feet in height and up to 2,000 feet in diameter.
Scientists will know more after arriving at the Siberian site.
Image via Youtube