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New video shows scale of darkness when day turned to night - and gulls died - in Yakutia

By 0 and 0 and 0
27 July 2018


Retirees were ‘scared’, having never witnessed anything of the kind before.

New footage highlighted here shows the total gloom of the ‘day-into-night’ phenomenon in Yakutia on 20 July when a mysterious cloud engulfed several districts. 

It is also now clear - as our pictures show - that when the sun returned dozens of black-headed gulls had died during the impromptu daytime blackout of almost three hours. 

As we reported earlier, the light was blotted out in several districts covering an area substantially above the Arctic Circle, in size  larger than Italy. 

Retirees were ‘scared’, having never witnessed anything of the kind before. 

The blanket of darkness starting soon after 11am was accompanied by a significant fall in temperature, a red or yellow tinge in the distant sky, a feeling for some witnesses of unpleasant pollution in the air, and - in a few locations - a trail of dust or an oil film on the surface after the light had returned at 3pm. 

There was anecdotal evidence of car electrical devices failing.

The blanket of darkness starting soon after 11am was accompanied by a significant fall in temperature.

Amid a puzzling official and federal media silence, all kinds of theories as to the cause, some conspiratorial, went wild on the web. 

Versions include a new darkness-inducing weapon being tested, a meteorite strike, the work of aliens or the devil, an unannounced eclipse, a botched rocket launch, or the fumes from raging forest fires.

Suspicions deepened because some official bodies were so coy - even evasive - when asked to explain the event, as if under orders. 

A source at the Emergencies Ministry in Yakutsk said in hushed tones: 'We have an opinion but I have no right to disclose this information.' 

He declined to confirm forest fires as the most likely cause, adding  guardedly: 'Anything can be supposed.'

Against this, there were no wild fires in the districts hit by the mysterious cloud. 

There has been no comment from the Ministry of Defence. 

First video of 'eclipse' in Yakutia

As well as the total gloom shown in the video, reports emerged of the dead gulls found by a resident of the village of Osokhtokh in Verkhoyansky district on the shore of Lake Baibal-Kuel.

Some reports say the remains of 30 birds were found, others that the number was 50. 

Inspectors have taken samples to find out the cause of their demise. 

They will be checked for bird diseases but also for toxic and radiological poisoning, it was announced. 

WWF Russia was also somewhat non-committal, with climate expert Alexey Kokorin saying: ‘To figure out exactly what it was, it is necessary to see satellite images for these very territories and these very hours.’

Strangely one week later, such data has not been disclosed. 

Ivan Gorokhov, head of Eveno-Batynaisky district: 'It was really dark.

‘Usually at this time of year we have the sun rather high - at about 80 degrees over horizon, but it was not visible at all.

‘Not even a spot. It was totally dark.

‘When I switched off my office light in my office there was no light coming through the window, so you can understand how dark it was. 

‘This darkness really did have some yellowish colour….’

Dead bird

Dead bird

Dead bird

Dead bird

Reports emerged of the dead gulls found by a resident of the village of Osokhtokh in Verkhoyansky district on the shore of Lake Baibal-Kuel.

He did not receive complaints about ill health but he noticed ‘a smell of smoke, of something that had burned.’

In his vicinity there were ‘no dust or ashes but in some places there was a thin oil film on the water’.

Higher authorities have offered no explanation, he confirmed.

He concluded mysteriously: 'We made an official request (for information on the cause), but we have had no reply. Maybe we are all infected, who knows?’

Konstantin Starostin, head of Nizhne-Bytantaisky settlement, said he was baffled. 

‘We don’t know what to think….we have no experts, and rumours keep growing.

‘If this was linked to some kind of military tests, I would say so.’

Head of Verkhoyansk town Yevgeny Potapov said: ‘Something strange happened on that day.’

Dark cloud

‘We don’t know what to think….we have no experts, and rumours keep growing.'

He doubted an eclipse or a meteorite. 

We contacted Natalia Kovalyova, the acting head of meteorological and agricultural forecasting department in regional capital Yakutsk. 

She believes Yakutia’s darkest day was caused by forest fires with the pollution blown into districts where no infernos were raging. 

If true, the phenomenon appears to be similar to an event in the eastern United States  on 19 May 1790 when darkness fell over a large area not affected by wildfires.

It is known as New England’s Dark Day. 

Here too the skies were reported as red and yellow tinged and the cause was believed to fires burning in Ontario, Canada, combined with a thick cloud cover and fog. 

‘We think that partly it is a meteorological event, but let me stress, this is only a preliminary conclusion based on information we have just received,’ said Kovayova.

‘I have not been there myself and did not see it. 

‘We know that a weather front passed the northern regions of Yakutia on that day carrying cold air and most likely it has also brought the smoke from forest fires. 

‘As for today, there are 319 active forest fires in our republic, almost the whole territory is burning, so there is nothing surprising in smoke being carried around by air flows in the atmosphere. 



She believes Yakutia’s darkest day was caused by forest fires with the pollution blown into districts where no infernos were raging. 

‘According to our preliminary understanding, it was the smoke from southwestern areas that reached the north. 

‘But what is puzzling us, why was it red? 

‘I have heard local people indicating that some red ashes have been seen at the water surfaces after this event. 

‘I believe you have seen photographs with red colour and the main question is – what made it red? 

‘I am not sure if we are going to investigate it further, it is just interesting.’

Kokorin concurred that wildfire pollution was the most likely cause. 

And Alexander Oboimov, an Arctic researcher and meteorologist, said: 'It is just smog caused by wildfires... 

‘In 2010 I observed a similar phenomenon in Voronezh region.

’In July, nearly the same dates, when the forests were burning [across central Russia]. 

‘The sun was not visible, like an eclipse. So it is nothing supernatural.’

In the New England event, there were reports that rain left a light film and ash was found the surface. 

The day darkness similarly lasted for around three hours in most localities. 

Locals rushed to church, it was reported, while  'roosters crowed, woodcocks whistled, and frogs peeped as if night had fallen'.

Comments (6)

"From the third to the sixth hour a darkness covered the land and the veil of the Temple was torn in two." Somebody's trying to send us a message, again. Next time try NYC or LA.
Baldurdasche, Pretoria
09/08/2018 01:45
ok so what caused it ?
Russian Man, Russia
03/08/2018 01:37
Dust clouds, maybe from a desert coming down in a vortex. See the dustclouds at, Particulates, pm 10 and pm 2.5. Very high values even today over Siberia. Bit of a mystery how they can concentrate like this.
John, UK
29/07/2018 04:23
Forest fire smoke doesn't explain the bright flash in the sky seen just before the darkness began.
DJ, Usa
28/07/2018 06:49
May it be related to the red floods in Norilsk?

'Blood rain' pours down on Russia's Norilsk, Published on Jul 5, 2018 (Ruptly)

However, it's known that dust can be carried away very long way, sand from Sahara have been brought up all the way to Europe.
Vaeltaja, Finland
28/07/2018 06:09
Now please go and report on the fires that are causing this amount of smoke. Fires have increased in Siberia as a result of global warming. That is more pertinent than continuously reporting on smog and emphasising the 'mystery'.
Butt Face, Earth
28/07/2018 00:20

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