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A.P. Chekhov, 1890

Large crater appears at the 'end of the world'

By The Siberian Times reporter
15 July 2014

Mysterious 'gigantic' hole in remote region spotted by helicopters over gas-rich Yamal peninsula.

The crater is large enough for several Mi-8 helicopters to fly into it. Picture: Konstantin Nikolaev

The striking puncture in the earth is believed to be up to 80 metres wide but its depth is not estimated yet. A scientific team has been sent to investigate the hole and is due to arrive at the scene on Wednesday.

The cause of its sudden appearance in Yamal - its name means the 'end of the world' in the far north of Siberia - is not yet known, though one scientific claim is that global warming may be to blame.

There is additionally speculation it could be caused by a space object - perhaps a meteorite - striking earth or that it is a sinkhole caused by collapsing rock beneath the hole caused by as yet unknown factors.

The giant hole appeared close to a forest some 30 kilometres from Yamal's biggest gas field Bovanenkovo. Experts are confident that a scientific explanation will be found for it and that it is not - as one web claim suggested - evidence 'of the arrival of a UFO craft' to the planet. 

A report and footage highlighted by Zvezda TV says the dark colour of the crater indicates 'some temperature processes', without explaining more what they may mean. Others say that the darkening around the inner rim indicates its formation was accompanied by severe burning scorching the edges.  

Some observers believe water or dry soil is seen falling into the cavity.

Large crater appears at the 'end of the world'


Large crater appears at the 'end of the world'


Large crater appears at the 'end of the world'


Large crater appears at the 'end of the world'


Large crater appears at the 'end of the world'

Initial reports and images were suspected to be fakes, but the hole is a real phenomenon and it is believed to have been formed around two years ago. Pictures: Konstantin Nikolaev

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 - not that they have. 

The expedition organised by the Yamal authorities includes two experts from the Centre for the Study of the Arctic and one from Cryosphere Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. They plan to take samples of soil, air and water from the scene.

They will be accompanied by a specialist from the Emergencies Ministry.

A spokesman for the ministry's Yamal branch ruled out a meteorite but said it was too early to say what cause the gigantic hole in the earth. 

'We can definitely say that it is not a meteorite. No details yet,' said a spokesman. 

Initial reports and images were suspected to be fakes, but the hole is a real phenomenon and it is believed to have been formed around two years ago.

Engineer Konstantin Nikolaev from Yugra is one of those to have filmed it from a helicopter.  

Anna Kurchatova from Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Centre thinks the crater was formed by a water, salt and gas mixture igniting an underground explosion, the result of global warming. She postulates that gas accumulated in ice mixed with sand beneath the surface, and that this was mixed with salt - some 10,000 years ago this area was a sea.

Global warming, causing an 'alarming' melt in the permafrost, released gas causing an effect like the popping of a Champagne bottle cork, she suggests.

Given the gas pipelines in this region such a happening is potentially dangerous.

Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug


in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug


in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug


in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug

Sights of Yamal - aerial view of tundra, road to Bovanenkovo gas field, opening ceremony of the Bovanenkovo, and reindeers. Pictures: Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug administration

The Yamal Peninsula in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug is a strategic oil and gas bearing region of Russia.  

It is Russia's main production area for gas and the Bovanenkovo field is of central importance to gas supplies from Siberia to the world. 

The gas field was discovered in 1972 and developed by Gazprom starting production in 2012. The Yamal peninsula is bordered by the Kara Sea - Baydaratskaya Bay - to the west, and the Gulf of Ob on the east. It extends some 700 kilometres over mainly permafrost. 

The area is famous for its reindeer herds and migratory birds. 

The Nenets and Khanty reindeer herders hold about half a million domestic reindeer.

The remains of ancient woolly mammoths have been found in this enchanting territory. 

Comments (172)

What's special about this hole? The whole area looks like a sponge. There's billions and billions of holes everywhere up there.
HeyJoe, Angeles, Philippines
18/07/2014 09:10
4
2
Nice theories from around the globe, but I hate to be the one to point out the obvious, but folks, it's a big hole in the ground, and one day we will know, or we may not ever know, what caused the big hole in the ground. It's that simple.
Bubba, Alabama, USA
18/07/2014 09:04
7
0
There is no global warming. There is climate change. This melting is caused by the underground volcano's..We are starting a mini ice age due to the suns inactivity..This is all a money thing for the bigwigs..Pollution is poison, we are killing our planet. This is not made by us. This is a nature process..We cant stop it. We can stop Fukushima
sharon b, ky,usa
18/07/2014 06:55
3
1
Come on people! This is the result of our greed, our incompetence, our carelessness of our great mother. God help us
Julie , Fort Collins USA
18/07/2014 06:25
0
5
To me it looks very much like a manmade hole, maybe some secret mining. The edging clearly shows sings of digging, Climate reasons sound rather ridiculous to me
Susann, Zug, Switzerland
18/07/2014 04:41
6
12
I think it is so that when we pump up oil from the earth, then the empty space from the oil will go down.
i have spoken about that for years but no one have listen to me.

Best regards from Sweden
Pierre L, Sweden
18/07/2014 04:10
9
4
I think it is so that when we pump up oil from the earth, so must the empty space to go down.
none have been well thought of it, or.
Pierre L, Sweden
18/07/2014 04:07
2
1
Are we really going to ever know what really cause this ???????
Jesse, NASA Area
18/07/2014 03:59
2
0
Looks like the kinda hole you make at the beach, like maybe the Ice underneath melted leaving a cavern that collapsed from the inside when the water from the Ice weakened the sides
toodlebug, san antonio,texas
18/07/2014 02:33
1
0
It is a newly revealed SINKHOLE or CAVE, folks; We have a LOT of these in the US. Most likely theory is ice melted and revealed the opening, or gas blasted off the cover or Russia tested a bomb and WOW! Look what it revealed under the surface. Great, now their scientists have a new sinkhole to explore--awesome. There is nothing science fiction about this. I guess the rest of the world doesn't know that much about geology--whatever. Go find another website for your conspiracy
midget, USA
18/07/2014 01:27
4
7
The theory that it was caused by global warming is DUMB. If ice melted or "pushed up out", then there was ALREADY a HOLLOW CAVERN! To have a "ready made" or quickly made hole means either the cave beneath was ALREADY THERE. We have in many places in the US such caves and deep holes, some are not discovered until an alteration in the landscape causes a sinkhole or some other act of nature or man opens an entrance. Any idea that the whole thing "suddenly appeared" is a HOAX. The entrance was what suddenly appeared, but what lies beneath DID NOT and may have actually been there for hundreds, thousands, even millions of years.



It's a newly revealed CAVERN, folks.
Ditto, USA
18/07/2014 01:22
7
10
What about the use of Lasers anybody? Wouldn't they cause similar results?
Mario, Oklahoma/usa
18/07/2014 00:56
4
5
What about the use of Lasers anybody? Wouldn't they cause similar results?
Mario, Oklahoma/usa
18/07/2014 00:52
4
4
I love all the morons out there saying "it's obviously '____'"
oh really, scientists around the world are baffled and you can just call it immediately by looking at shitty pixelated photos? get over yourself.
Aaron, California
18/07/2014 00:33
27
1
one word conspiracy, I'm sure the u.n. knows right guys? meteor, NO,geologists know that. weapon mass destruction how them weapons in space that's a impact
tony, el sal
18/07/2014 00:27
2
7

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