Saturday, Oct 21 2017
All Cities
Choose Your City
'Please will you get a message to my wife in Paris, to say I bless my son?-reported final words of Admiral Kolchak'

Exclusive new pictures INSIDE Siberian crater

By Anna Liesowska
12 November 2014

Haunting beauty of massive hole as scientists examine frozen lake formed after giant blowout.

'We managed to go down into the funnel, it was a successful expedition'. Picture: Vladimir Pushkarev/Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration

A mission this week to the newly-formed crater on the Yamal Peninsula in northern Siberia is expected throw fresh light on how this and other such phenomenon were formed. Experts are working on a theory that gas hydrates caused underground explosions in the same way as eruptions under the Atlantic Ocean may have led to the Bermuda Triangle phenomenon.

Our new pictures show how, for the first time, scientists used climbing equipment to reach the base of the crater - a lake at least 10.5 metres deep with a frozen surface.

Leader of the new mission, Vladimir Pushkarev, director of the Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration, told The Siberian Times: 'We managed to go down into the funnel, all was successful. We used climbing equipment, and it is easier to do this in winter, than in summer, with the ground now hard.

'We took all the probes we planned, and made measurements. Now scientists need time to process all the data and only then can they draw conclusions.'

The funnel of the crater is about 16.5 metres deep, not including an earthen rampart on the surface, formed in the blowout, of several metres in height.

Exclusive new pictures INSIDE mystery Siberian crater


Exclusive new pictures INSIDE mystery Siberian crater


Exclusive new pictures INSIDE mystery Siberian crater


Exclusive new pictures INSIDE mystery Siberian crater


Exclusive new pictures INSIDE mystery Siberian crater

It is possible other such phenomenon existed but were not noticed earlier. Pictures: Vladimir Pushkarev/Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration

At the base is a frozen lake. 'The depth of the mini-lake is about 10.5 metres but it can be deeper. We are waiting for the exact information from readings taken by the scientists', Vladimir Pushkarev said. 

The research to the largest of three known holes - all recently formed - in northern Siberia was initiated by the Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration, and included experts from a number of institutes. 'They did radiolocation tests at a depth of 200 metres, took probes of ice, ground, gases, and air. Now they all went back to their institutes and labs and will work on the material. The next stage is processing of the gathered information. 

'Then we plan to explore the surrounding area, comparing images from space, and even those taken in the 1980s, to understand if there are - or were - some similar objects'.

It is possible other such phenomenon existed but were not noticed earlier. 

Exclusive new pictures INSIDE mystery Siberian crater


Exclusive new pictures INSIDE mystery Siberian crater

'As of now we don't see anything dangerous in the sudden appearance of such holes'. Pictures: Vladimir Pushkarev/Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration

Mr Pushkarev claimed it is too early to draw conclusions on theories on the  crater's formation, including the suggestion from Russian scientist Igor Yeltsov, the deputy head of the Trofimuk Institute, that heating from above the surface due to unusually warm climatic conditions, and from below, due to geological fault lines, led to a huge release of gas hydrates, causing the eruption.

When the crater was first highlighted, earlier this year, it stoked many different theories including a manmade hoax, the work of aliens from outer space, a meteorite or even a stray missile. These are now discounted. 

'I've heard about this Bermuda Triangle idea, but I repeat, our scientists need to work on materials first and only then draw some definite conclusions. At the moment we don't have enough information,' said Mr Pushkarev, a climber, rescuer and explorer who led the experts to the scene in temperatures of minus 11C.

'We haven't worked with other funnels yet. We plan to do this, but first of all we need to understand completely the nature of this very funnel to be able to create a model which then we'll use to compare with other craters'. 

Exclusive new pictures INSIDE mystery Siberian crater


Exclusive new pictures INSIDE mystery Siberian crater


Exclusive new pictures INSIDE mystery Siberian crater


Exclusive new pictures INSIDE mystery Siberian crater


Exclusive new pictures INSIDE mystery Siberian crater


Exclusive new pictures INSIDE mystery Siberian crater


Exclusive new pictures INSIDE mystery Siberian crater


Exclusive new pictures INSIDE mystery Siberian crater


Exclusive new pictures INSIDE mystery Siberian crater

The research to the largest of three known holes was initiated by the Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration. Pictures: Vladimir Pushkarev/Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration

Mr Pushkarev stated: 'As of now we don't see anything dangerous in the sudden appearance of such holes, but we've got to study them properly to make absolutely sure we understand the nature of their appearance and don't need to be afraid about them'.

Gas hydrates are ice-like forms of water containing gas molecules, notably methane. They exist in permafrost regions such as northern Siberia, but also under the oceans in some parts of the world. 

'The main element - and this is our working theory to explain the Yamal crater - was a release of gas hydrates. It turned out that there are gas hydrates both in the deep layer which on peninsula is several hundred metres down, and on the layer close to the surface', said scientist Vladimir Potapov before the latest expedition. 'There might be another factor, or factors, that could have provoked the air clap. Each of the factors added up and gas exploded, leading to appearance of the crater.'

He stressed: 'The crater is located on the intersection of two tectonic faults. Yamal peninsula is seismically quiet, yet the area of the crater we looked into has quite an active tectonic life. That means that the temperature there was higher than usual.'

The name Yamal means 'the end of the world', which ironically is also a description applied to the Bermuda Triangle for those lost on boats and planes. The areas stretches from the British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean to the Florida coast, to Puerto Rico. 

Professor Yeltsov said: 'There is a version that the Bermuda Triangle is a consequence of gas hydrates reactions. They start to actively decompose with methane ice turning into gas. It happens in an avalanche-like way, like a nuclear reaction, producing huge amounts of gas. That makes ocean to heat up and ships sink in its waters mixed with a huge proportion of gas.

'The same leads to the air to get supersaturated with methane, which makes the atmosphere extremely turbulent and lead to aircraft crashes'.

Comments (91)

Did they find James Arness down there?
Con O'Dwyer, Dundrum, Ireland
25/02/2015 02:26
5
2
aliensssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
buzz lightyear, the galactic alliance
25/02/2015 00:14
3
1
Has nobody every seen Alien Vs Predator?

This is blatantly a botched attempt by the Predators to find an alien base...
Mr. B. Obvious, Manchester, UK
24/02/2015 20:24
42
5
The Bermuda triangle was invented in the 70s and supported with a load of made up data, it doesn't exist.
David, England
24/02/2015 17:26
9
20
Fantastic reporting on scientific topic and such incredible photographs! I wish there were more stories like this "in the news".
A Percival, Olympia, Washington, USA
24/02/2015 12:00
21
0
Matthew Boeck, I believe you are absolutely right. This is plasma arc machining. Without a doubt.
stevepidge, US
22/02/2015 11:35
3
1
I have seen this before, this is all consistent with earth arcing positive lightning. I cannot say what the negative pole was but the vertical walls, melted channels, scalloped top edges and negative dendritic ridges are all consistent with electrical discharges. Also note that both the sun and our earths magnetic field is at a weak point and we also had a massive cosmic ray come in the day the second and third holes formed. No one reported an explosion and the ejecta did not go too far either. A methane blast would send material a half kilometer or more. Russian scientists also reported a near miss of large asteroid a day later this may have been the negative pole.
Matthew Boeck, Santa Barbara USA
18/02/2015 11:57
16
5
it was so deep holes we all admire these scientist and there brave and we saluted you hard work.
khushbu mankame, india
16/02/2015 22:53
7
0
Here is my model, and a few comments:

"Molecular weight" of air is 98.97 and of CH4 it is 16. Thus the molecular weight of a 9.6% CH4 + 90.4% air mix is: 0.096x16 + 0.904x 28.97 = 27.725 so if down in the hole the temperature is 273K (both ice and water are there) and at the surface the temperature is T, then also assuming the ideal gas law, for there to be net lift in the mix, 27.725 / 28.97 = 0.9570, the lighter molecular density lift must not by more than offset by the temperature contraction increase of the density, which is by the factor 273 / T.

I. e. for 9.6% methane concentration to rise up out of the hole, 0.957 < 273 /T is required. Or T < 273/ 0.957 = 285.266K, which in more familiar units is 12.266C or ~54F. I.e. there should be methane laden air flowing up out of the hole, probably mainly in the center with 54F or colder air descending in an annulus around the column of methane enriched air. On the warmest Siberian days there will also be CH4 enriched air flowing up too, but the CH4 concentration will be higher then than the 9.6% then.

This inflow of CH4 free air would of course reduce the concentration of CH4 in the hole so long as it continues, but a dynamic equilibrium would be reached with the CH4 inflow from the saturated thawing permafrost. The time scale for this dynamic "steady state" to be establish is certainly less than an hour. I.e. the observed 9.6% CH4 concentration was the steady state one when the temperature was about 54F.

Thus by my analysis, I tell you that at the time the 9.6% CH4 was measured, the surface air temperature was ~54F which I think quite reasonable for Siberia at that latitude, in June or July when they measured the 9.6% CH4 concentration. Further more in winter the concentration will be much lower. I.e. the CH4 will be streaming up about as fast as it is being released by the permafrost.
Billy T, SAo Paulo, Brasil
10/02/2015 17:33
4
3
I see lots wondering what ignited the gas but couldn't find what crossed my mind in the posts. Maybe lightning. Also it's strange no seismographs chart the pattern, if there is one. Heck of a hunk of Earth to be popping out without some vibrations recorded. One can only hope it's a rare occurrence and not the start of a massive methane release. The dimensions and cone shape reminds me of something from an old Explorer series recording on Robert Monroe's site but that's going down the rabbit hole pretty deep. Still, fascinating effect, more so the cause. Great site. The photos and stories are tops.
Martin, Vallejo Ca. U.S.
23/12/2014 16:01
3
0
Another "Wonder of the World", me says!
jojnjo, Dublin
04/12/2014 11:07
4
0
Interesting, isn't it, how so many people have so many ideas about the formation of this and other such craters, including both fantastical explanations, and perhaps scientifically based ones. But the scientists doing the work have hypotheses that are based on expert knowledge. Why not let them test those hypotheses, rather than coming up with explanations that are at odds with what the scientists know?
David, Oklahoma
19/11/2014 00:59
21
4
ITS THE THING!!!!! - ITS BEEN BURIED IN THE SNOW JUST WAITING FOR US TO COME AND DIG IT UP!!!
R.J. MacReady, America
18/11/2014 21:00
19
6
Amazing pictures. The origin of this crater is very interesting, I wonder if it is an impact crater.
There's a great list of visible impact craters:
http://10mosttoday.com/10-most-incredible-impact-craters/
Mike, LA, California
18/11/2014 20:46
2
11
I would like to see these pictures taken in the summer from there but not in its fall.
Julio Barone Neto , Santos, Brasil
18/11/2014 03:55
1
7

Add your comment

We welcome a healthy debate, but do not accept offensive or abusive comments. Please also read 'Siberian Times' Privacy Policy

Name

Town/Country

Add your comments

The views expressed in the comments above are those of our readers. 'Siberian Times' reserves the right to pre-moderate some comments.

Control code*

Type the code

* obligatory


News

Business

The Bank of Russia official exchange rates of foreign currencies
EUR67.89USD57.51GBP75.53Other...