Siberian Times reported yesterday (July 15, 2014) on the large crater, or sink hole, that has appeared over the gas-rich Yamal peninsula in northern Siberia. The name Yamal means “the end of the world.” The cause of the crater, which was spotted by helicopters, is not yet known. A team of scientists has been sent to investigate the hole and is due to arrive at the scene on today. Siberian Times said:
The giant hole appeared close to a forest some 30 kilometers from Yamal’s biggest gas field Bovanenkovo. Experts are confident that a scientific explanation will be found for it and that it is not – as one web claim suggested – evidence ‘of the arrival of a UFO craft’ to the planet.
A report and footage highlighted by Zvezda TV says the dark color of the crater indicates ‘some temperature processes’, without explaining more what they may mean. Others say that the darkening around the inner rim indicates its formation was accompanied by severe burning scorching the edges.
Some observers believe water or dry soil is seen falling into the cavity.
The scientific expedition due to arrive in the area today was organized by Yamal authorities. It includes two experts from the Centre for the Study of the Arctic and one from Cryosphere Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. They, and a specialist from the Emergencies Ministry, plan to take samples of soil, air and water from the scene. A spokesman told Siberian Times:
We can definitely say that it is not a meteorite. No details yet.
Initial reports and images were suspected to be fakes, but the hole is a real phenomenon and it is believed to have been formed around two years ago.
Bottom line: A mysterious crater or sink hole has been found on the Yamal peninsula of northern Siberia. No cause is yet known. It is about 80 meters ((262 feet) across.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.