Siberian Mystery Hole Investigation Begins

July 21, 2014

“WTF”  was a pretty typical reaction to video of a newly discovered physical feature on Siberia’s Yamal peninsula last week.

A lot of speculation about the crater-like formation has been around the possibility of methane gas release from thawing permafrost.
The video above is the first close-up I’ve seen. Russian speakers weigh in.

Siberian Times:

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.

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’.


7 Responses to “Siberian Mystery Hole Investigation Begins”

  1. This sentence, perhaps, here is very important:
    “The Yamal region is rich in oil and natural gas, and the crater is located 30 km away from its largest gas field.”

    I add: it’s very, very (incredibly !) large gas field …

  2. […] "WTF" was a pretty typical reaction to video of a newly discovered physical feature on Siberia's Yamal peninsula last week. A lot of speculation about the crater-like formation has been around the…  […]

  3. redskylite Says:

    Not too surprising as Shakhova et al. (2008) estimate that not less than 1,400 Gt of Carbon is presently locked up as methane under the permafrost and between 3 – 4 % could be abruptly released at any time, increasing the methane GHG concentration 12x. Often sadly we have seen the power of sudden methane release in our coal mining industries.

  4. I’m surprised that the US news media isn’t blaming the crater on Putin and the Russian-backed “Ukrainian terrorists.” Or maybe they have and I missed it, since I don’t watch Fox News.

  5. joffan7 Says:

    I’m confident that’s not an impact crater – my money would be on an explosive mixture of gas and air forming in a shallow underground cavern, igniting and blowing the roof off.

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