A group of scientists are getting closer to the mystery behind three massive holes discovered in the earth in Siberia last July.
The team of Russian scientists lead by Vladimir Pushkarev, the head of the Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration, climbed down around 16.5 meters (54 feet) to the base of the crater to cast light on how this and other such phenomenon were formed.
The visited crater, which is 60-meters in diameter, is the largest of the three known holes in Yamal, meaning “the end of the world” in the Nenec language. At the bottom of the crater, researchers studied a frozen lake that is estimated to be about 34.4 feet, or 10.5 meters deep.
Leader of the new mission, Vladimir Pushkarev, 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 expedition to the Yamal crater was planned by Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration together with united experts from several research centers. There is a possibility that such phenomenon existed but were not noticed earlier.
“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,” Pushkarev added.
Originally, there were several theories regarding the origin of the mysterious Siberian hole, ranging from a man-made hoax, to aliens, a meteorite, and even a stray missile from Vladimir Putin’s military.
However, these variant have been eliminated, as the favored explanation is that heating from underground fissures combined to release gas hydrates causing the dramatic blowout on the surface in July. Nevertheless, Mr. Pushkarev claimes that it is too early to draw conclusions on theories on the crater’s formation.
The researchers making plans to create a 3D model of the crater, which is at the basin of the Mordy-jacha River. In the future, it could help predict the possible emergence of such natural phenomenon.
Pushkarev said: “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 of them.”
After the discovery of the first giant crater on the Yamal Peninsular last year, there were found two more. One is located in the same permafrost region of northern Russia, while the other on the Taymyr Peninsula, to the east, in Kransoyark region. Both were spotted by reindeer herders who almost fell in.
The chief scientist of the Earth Cryosphere Institute, Marina Leibman, told URA.RU website in Sibera: “I have heard about the second funnel on Yamal, in Taz district, and saw the pictures.
“Undoubtedly, we need to study all such formations. It is necessary to be able to predict their occurrence. Each new funnel provides additional information for scientists.”