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EarthSky // Earth, Science Wire Release Date: Jul 22, 2014

lnside the mysterious Yamal crater

Scientists are back from a first exploration of the strange crater on the Yamal Peninsula in northern Siberia. Curiouser and curiouser.

The crater, which is 70 meters deep, has an icy lake at its bottom.  Photo by Andrey-Naumenko via Siberian Times.

The crater, which is 70 meters deep, has an icy lake at its bottom. Photo by Andrey-Naumenko via Siberian Times.

The mysterious crater on the Yamal Peninsula, discovered by helicopter last week, is not as wide as original aerial estimates suggested. It is now thought to be about 30-60 meters wide, in contrast to original estimates of up to 100 meters. Meanwhile, the crater is now known to be up to about 70 meters deep, and it’s seen to have an icy lake at its bottom. There is water flowing down the smooth crater walls. A Russian science team has returned from exploring the crater, and they still say it is a natural formation, but there are no easy answers as to what caused it.

Their next step, they say, is to use Russian satellite pictures to fix the moment when the crater suddenly formed. They believe the crater was not there two years ago.

They have also taken soil samples from inside the crater to the lab, in hopes of finding some answers.

Read more from Siberian Times

The walls of the crater appear evenly cut.

The walls of the crater appear evenly cut. Via Siberian Times.

Helicopters found the crater last week.  Photo via Siberian Times.

Helicopters found the crater last week. Via Siberian Times.

Scientists explored  the mysterious crater last week.  They say they now want to look at satellite photos to pinpoint when it appeared.

Scientists explored the mysterious crater last week. They say they now want to look at satellite photos to pinpoint when it appeared. Via Siberian Times.

Yamal peninsula in northern Siberia via Wikimedia Commons

Yamal peninsula in northern Siberia via Wikimedia Commons

Bottom line: Scientists are back from a first exploration of the strange crater on the Yamal Peninsula in northern Siberia. Curiouser and curiouser.

Discovery story: Large crater appears at ‘the end of the world’