Origins of gigantic Siberian crater undetermined, sparking speculation

This hole isn’t empty – it’s full of mysteries. A giant crater recently discovered in Siberia has scientists puzzled as to its origins, and speculations range from UFO landing to gas-related explosions.

The massive 262-foot-wide hole of unknown depth in the far north of Siberia was spotted by helicopters flying over the Yamal Peninsula, a name which can be roughly translated to “end of the world.” An aerial view of of the crater was uploaded onto Youtube and has been viewed almost 1.5 million times.

Scientific theories as to what caused the crater range widely – as the Siberian Times reports, some believe that it is related to global warming, while others think it was caused by a meteorite striking the earth. Of course, we can’t forget the conspiracists who see the hole as the remainder of a UFO landing, although this theory has been dismissed by experts.

A more specific scientific explanation is reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, where a polar scientist alleges that the crater is actually an extreme example of a geologic formation called a “pingo.” This feature is a block of ice which grows into the surrounding ground – and when it melts, can leave behind a exposed crater such as this one.

However, this theory clashes with other scientists’ claims that a darkened rim around the crater’s edge must signal an explosion or some sort of heat exposure. One scientist believes thinks the crater was formed by a water, salt and gas mixture which ignited an underground explosion. Claims of explosion in the area are particularly worrying, because the crater is only 30 miles from Yamal’s biggest gas field.

An expedition led by Russian scientists arriving on-site today will hopefully bring about some conclusive end to this mystery. Or maybe not – it could always turn out to actually be a UFO landing, which would probably create more questions than answers.


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