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First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world'

By Anna Liesowska
17 July 2014

Experts examine the newly-discovered hole in the earth in Siberia.

The crater has an icy lake at its bottom with water cascading down its eroding permafrost walls. Picture: Andrey Naumenko, 'Yamal-Region'

The crater on the Yamal Peninsula was caused by aliens, a meteorite, a stray missile, or an explosive gas cocktail released due to global warming, according to various theories in recent days.

Images of the remarkable phenomenon have gone round the world since The Siberian Times highlighted helicopter images of the giant hole earlier this week. 

The first expedition to the scene - the scientists have just returned - took these epic pictures of the hole, including the darkening pattern on the inner rim. 

Now they are using Russian satellite pictures to fix the moment when it suddenly formed. 

They found the crater - around up to 70 metres deep - has an icy lake at its bottom, and water is cascading down its eroding permafrost walls.

It is not as wide as aerial estimates which suggested between 50 and 100 metres.

First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 

The first scientific expedition has just returned from the site, now the experts are working with satellite pictures to fix the moment when the crater has formed. Pictures: Marya Zulinova, press service of the Governor YaNAO

While the team insist that it is a 'natural phenomenon', they insist further study is essential to understanding the formation of the crater in lake-studded Yamal - a name which means 'end of the world' in the local tongue. 

Andrey Plekhanov, Senior Researcher at the State Scientific Centre of Arctic Research, said: 'The crater has more of an oval than a circular shape, it makes it harder to calculate the exact diameter. As of now our estimates is about thirty metres.

'If we try to measure diameter together with soil emission, the so-called parapet, then the diameter is up to sixty meters.

'The crater is from 50 to 70 metres deep'.

First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 

The first look down the crater. Picture: Andrey Naumenko, 'Yamal-Region'

The researchers were unable to make their way to the bottom of the lake, but did go inside the crater. 

'There is ice inside the crater which gradually thaws under the sun.

'Also there is melted water flowing down from its sides, you can see water traces on the pictures. The crater is filled with ice by about eighty per cent. '

He stressed: 'We are working with space photographs to figure out exact time of its formation.

'We have taken soil and ice samples which went straight to laboratories. We can be certain in saying that the crater appeared relatively recently, perhaps a year or two  ago; so it is a recent formation, we are not talking about dozen years ago. 

'Could it be linked to the global warming? We have to continue our research to answer this question. 

'Two previous summers - years 2012 and 2013 were relatively hot for Yamal, perhaps this has somehow influenced the formation of the crater.

'But we have to do our tests and research first and then say it more definitively'. 

First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 

The crater is filled with ice by about eighty per cent. Pictures: Marya Zulinova, press service of the Governor YaNAO

The best theory for now is that the crater was formed by internal - not external - forces. 

'For now we can say for sure that under the influence of internal processes there was an ejection in the permafrost. I want to stress that it was not an explosion, but an ejection, so there was no heat released as it happened'.

Earlier scientists were sure there was burning visible on the sides of the crater. 

'I also want to recall a theory that our scientists worked on in the 1980s - it has been left and then forgotten for a number of years. 

'The theory was that the number of Yamal lakes formed because of exactly such natural process happening in the permafrost. 

'Such kind of processes were taking place about 8,000 years ago. Perhaps they are repeating nowadays. If this theory is confirmed, we can say that we have witnessed a unique natural process that formed the unusual landscape of Yamal peninsula. 

First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 

Experts examine the newly-discovered hole in the earth in Siberia. Pictures: Marya Zulinova, press service of the Governor YaNAO

'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.

'If it was a man-made disaster linked by gas pumping, it would have happened closer to the gas fields', Andrey Plekhanov told The Siberian Times. 

These are about 30 kilometres away. 'Gas workers would have been on alert, letting us know about it immediately.'

Denigrating speculation of aliens or UFOs he insisted:'There is nothing mysterious about it. There is no weird or unexplained feelings there, we came back safe and sound'.

Despite this, he said: 'I've never seen anything like this, even though I have been to Yamal many times.'

First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 

The hole is in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous, some 30 kilometres from the Bovanenkovo gas field. Pictures: Marya Zulinova, press service of the Governor YaNAO

The crater is different from others on Yamal.

'There is nothing mysterious here, it is simply Mother Nature's law with its internal pressure and changes in temperatures', Andrey Plekhanov said.

Marina Leibman,Senior Researcher at the Earth's Cryosphere Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said: 'About the future of the crater - its walls are constantly thawing, water is gathering up and I suspect that it gets frozen at the bottom of the crater. If the water stream intensifies - for example because of the hot second part of July - then it won't have enough time to freeze. This will likely lead to a formation of a new lake.'

Vladimir Pushkarev, Director of the Russian State Scientific Center of the Arctic Research, 'It is an interesting phenomenon, there is every sense in continuing scientific work on it and right now we are discussing the best ways of exploring the site.'

The hole is in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous, some 30 kilometres from the Bovanenkovo gas field. 

Anna Kurchatova from the 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. 

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 under soil ice, released gas causing an effect like the popping of a Champagne bottle cork, she suggests.

Yamal, a large peninsula jutting into Arctic waters, is Russia's main production area for gas supplied to Europe.

Comments (167)

BC BC, really, Moron?. You have issues pal. I gave an opinion. Get the spoodie out of your eyes and see that if what you say was accurate in this case, the whole pic would look that way. There are other heli pics here that are clear. Get that chip off your shoulder and wang out of your mouth. I don't watch faux news pally. Mainstream media is all propaganda. You don't know me. Don't presume to either, makes you the fool.
cy, omaha/usa
28/07/2014 21:18
7
16
I can't help it. This whole photo series look like a big fake. Even my mobile phone can take better Quality Images.
Hemipheistos, Vienna/Austria
28/07/2014 16:05
3
12
An absolutely brain dead conclusion. This man is a senior scientist.

This was the result of a Methane (CH4) explosion in contact with lightening.

1. The cavern ceiling must have been etched fairly close to the surface before the explosion which is why there isn't significantly more dirt thrown up and out.

2. There will always be some incomplete combustion of Methane resulting in the formation of CO, Aldehydes, Carbon and Hydrogen. This explains the black soot on the inside top ledge (Carbon).

Did they test for the presence of Aldehydes in the soil. Almost certainly they would have found traces.

And of Course CH4 has a low specific gravity .555 which means it would have been slowly escaping the cavern through several holes or cracks ultimately to be ignited by lightening in the surrounding air (oxygen).

Jason Walsh, Toronto
28/07/2014 09:34
7
10
Would the collapsing stone ceiling of the cavity act like a piston compressing the air beneath it and cause a blowout of the topsoil and peat still clinging to the edges? I would guess that most of the soil fell to the bottom along with the stone ceiling and is under the lake below.
Rick Nelson, Columbus, Ohio, USA
28/07/2014 00:28
5
1
Would the roof of the chamber collapsing underground act like piston compressing the air beneath it and lead to a blowout of the soil and sod it once supported above it? The roof and probably most of the soil that had been above are down in the lake I would guess.
Rick Nelson, Ohio, USA
28/07/2014 00:23
2
1
To the moron from Omaha... That's not photoshop, it's called taking a photo through a helicopter window. They're not always crystal clear, and plenty of my own shots show that same smeared/streaked quality.
Give your head a shake and turn off Fox "News"
BC, BC
27/07/2014 02:56
22
9
This is important
Ken Lundgreen, San Francisco / USA
26/07/2014 16:23
8
0
Some of the ejecta was was still green sod uplift. Deeper soil ejecta piles show no sign of plant growth. This was VERY recent years months or even weeks. Most of what was lifted out seems to have collapsed back in. The original explosion must have been much deeper than the vertical hole now indicates. Only suddenly warming methane clathrates can pressurize into an eruption so abruptly. This is unique to modern geologic history. An ominous indicator of a future pattern.
spinstar, San Francisco, CA
26/07/2014 16:20
9
6
isto é oSenhor mostrando sua força.
alexandre, brasil es
26/07/2014 08:20
3
7
im wondering why the last photo has been Photoshopped? looks like they did a terrible job of trying to make the hole appear smoother than it is. Poor Anna, gave up her ethics and morals to promote the "global warming" scam.
cy, omaha/usa
26/07/2014 06:12
4
47
Caused by swamp gas.
Nad Gough, USA
25/07/2014 17:07
4
1
New technologies. New pumps, new experiments. Test on area isolated.
Marcelo Almirante, Brazil
25/07/2014 10:22
1
2
Allienigens black, bubles ,spheres comes front out space july 2013,i make a draw.Ufo.Experiment with planet fos ivasion.Armageddon...alliens.
Rolando Rosa Sierra, Naguabo ,Puerto rico
24/07/2014 12:48
0
13
Magnífico gole,and is very curiosly and is a veri Nice,but I sana go in there and live cross to them.
Walter VAltuille Marttinez, Goiânia-Goiás-Brazil
24/07/2014 07:49
0
0
How to explain the marks at the beginning of the crater in the side? .... There's one that looks like it's a footprint.
Leandro Costa, Salvador,Bahia
24/07/2014 07:12
0
0

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