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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)

I noticed that someone said why Siberia, Well Siberia for one is a very interesting area for Geology etc. When there is a significant melt the Permafrost begins to melt and the decay of biological s begin to be released as gases foremost is Methane. The Permafrost goes down quite a ways and sometimes when a hard freeze comes about quickly the gases get trapped so if the somehow can get released quickly and something could ignite them then well Kaboom, explosion. Hey, this is All hypothetical and pure conjecture so who the heck Knows. Good story huh. Most of my info came from past articles from surveys done in the Siberian Tundra . I might not have gotten everything perfect but what the heck.
Kevin, USA
14/11/2014 01:48
0
1
I noticed that someone said why Siberia, Well Siberia for one is a very interesting area for Geology etc. When there is a significant melt the Permafrost begins to melt and the decay of biological s begin to be released as gases foremost is Methane. The Permafrost goes down quite a ways and sometimes when a hard freeze comes about quickly the gases get trapped so if the somehow can get released quickly and something could ignite them then well Kaboom, explosion. Hey, this is All hypothetical and pure conjecture so who the heck Knows. Good story huh. Most of my info came from past articles from surveys done in the Siberian Tundra .
Kevin, USA
14/11/2014 01:46
0
1
I noticed that someone said why Siberia, Well Siberia for one is a very interesting area for Geology etc.
When there is a significant melt the Permafrost begins to melt and the decay of biological s begin to be released as gases foremost is Methane. The Permafrost goes down quite a ways and sometimes when a hard freeze comes about quickly the gases get trapped so if the somehow can get released quickly and something could ignite them then well Kaboom, explosion. Hey, this is All hypothetical and pure conjecture so who the heck Knows.
Good story huh. Most of my info came from past articles from surveys done in the Siberian Tundra .
And Wilford, Don't even THINK about critiquing my Comment. I will reach through your screen and pull your lungs out through your throat.
LOL. Be nice. People just enjoy the comments section.
Kevin, USA
14/11/2014 01:42
6
2
I suppose these were created the same way all other sink holes form by the slow erosion of a small cavern or waterway beneath said area.
Robert D., KCMO, USA
14/11/2014 01:04
7
15
Wilford,

I lived in Alaska for years, giving me a perspective about cold, permafrost, and Russia. With that said, I can safely say your lack of knowledge of Siberia is exceeded only by your lack of acceptance of other cultures. These expeditions and their collected information are amazing and courageous. I'm very interested in the results.
Maggie Rhodes, Knoxville TN
14/11/2014 00:49
29
3
In the picture of the guy reaching into his jacket, holding a plastic bag, look directly up from his head and follow down to the right on the wall of the crater. looks like a hell hound watching him. Art in nature. Sweet.
Robert, St.Cloud MN
14/11/2014 00:33
14
2
I truly believe that the Siberian Yamal Peninsula went out, got drunk and ate too much Taco Bell. These photos represent my Saturday morning after a Taco Bell Friday night. And they needed scientists to figure this out? Pathetic.
Gas Master, Hell, North Korea
14/11/2014 00:31
2
23
Could be a under water volcano trying to form as well or the remnants of long dead one as well, (please no comment on my spelling I have dislexicia, probably spelled that wrong as well lol. I do see the how all your views and they are very good, With tectonic plates and heating and freezing can occur as well as the release of gasses, it seems the most logical explanation that gasses are the cause as well as the temperature being warmer at the base. just my 2 cents, again I apologize for my spelling.
Tammy, TN, USA
14/11/2014 00:15
14
7
So far there has been three "holes" found?! Why is it we are just finding these, and all are located in Siberia? Can we tell how long they have been there? I would wonder if these can be found else where in the world. Very exciting to think we are still learning so much from our amazing earth everyday. Keep us updated!!
Shelley Lingle, Gastonia North Carolina USA
14/11/2014 00:15
1
0
So far there has been three "holes" found?! Why is it we are just finding these, and all are located in Siberia? Can we tell how long they have been there? I would wonder if these can be found else where in the world. Very exciting to think we are still learning so much from our amazing earth everyday. Keep us updated!!
Shelley Lingle, Gastonia North Carolina
14/11/2014 00:11
11
3
Wilford, two things :
1) you spelled they were wrong AND
2) PLEASE do not resort to tired old stereotypes in an attempt at cleverness.... thanks
Patrick, NY, USA
13/11/2014 23:32
8
24
Very interesting photos. My question is --What has caused the circular snow covered "holes" in the side of the crater? Were these vents? Were they made from water flowing? What are they?
Carolyn Groves, Warren, Ohio USA
13/11/2014 23:16
20
3
Wilford - how do you know Willaim spelled his name wrong? Sounds as if you jumped to a conclusion - not logical, you.
About the holes - I note the "bored" appearance of the sides of the holes. There is evidence of sedimentary deposit in spots, but the extreme symmetry of them all is attention-getting. The vertical striations in some photos, as if someone removed a plug; the right-angle crisscrossing striations in others. No, not aliens; I'm thinking more of gasses emitted, such as when tectonic plates meet & shift. Regardless, fascinating, beautiful, impressive! I rattle my tongue for such beauty! Thanks for informing us of this - please keep us posted.
Carel Two-Eagle, Noerthern Great Plains USA
13/11/2014 23:07
17
4
Willaim two things. 1: You spelled your own name wrong. 2: They're Russians. Have you seen youtube? Nothing hurts these people. If they're were a in a slide or cave-in, they would live comfortably under it until the snowmelt. Then dig themselves out with spades and picks made from the bones and cured internal organs of those who didn't survive. Knowledge is worth risk.
Wilford Billingsly, Virginia Beach, VA USA
13/11/2014 22:47
8
31
The expedition appears to have been rather dangerous although it seems likely all precautions were taken in the interest of team safety. I'm wondering what the concerns were about possible cave ins or slides? I would assume then they tested and deemed these structures were indeed quite stable enough to explore without excessive concern for stability issues. Had there been so, then reinforcement would have been applied as needed. All the equipment certainly seemed to be among the best available. I did not have time to read whether these aspects were actually covered in the article though.
Willaim Taylor, Canton, OH
13/11/2014 22:16
13
6

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