Those mysterious holes that have been forming in Siberia just got another mystery. The Siberian Times reports that a team of researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences was investigating one of the large craters recently and reported finding an “unidentified object resembling a space capsule” at the bottom. Shortly thereafter, the team’s satellite telephone link disconnected and they have not been heard from since. A helicopter crew that was also in the area reported having mechanical difficulties and was rescued but there were no signs of the three-man crater team. Were the stories about the craters being caused by methane gas released by climate change a cover-up for something bigger?
The mysterious craters have been appearing primarily on the Yamal peninsula, although a number have opened east of it. Until now, speculations on what’s causing them bounce between explosions due to methane gas heating as the permafrost thaws from unusually high temperatures and pingos, which are mounds of earth and ice that collapse into craters as the ice melts.
Details on the expedition are scarce. The Siberian Times says the team was at the crater taking measurements. They reported finding a grey-colored object made of a metal “unknown to earth” at a depth of 48 meters in a “hostile environment.” No other details of why the environment was hostile were given. The photograph shows snow and wind when the team took off but that’s nothing hostile to Siberians.
What happened to the three men after their phone cut out? This is the statement from the Emergencies Ministry:
At this moment their call ended, and we could not reach them again. When we sent a back-up helicopter to the site there was no sign of the three-man team. They have vanished. The crater was empty. Searching will continue throughout 1 April. [Rescuers] do not exclude that the men have been kidnapped.
Is this related to the mysterious flash seen before four new holes were found in February? Did the team find an alien spacecraft and disappear because of it? Who or what would have kidnapped them? Comments on the web site point out that the date of the article was April 1 but that’s probably a coincidence since there are no other prank stories and The Siberian Times has been serious about its coverage of the Siberian craters to this point.
What do you think? We’ll keep an eye out for any updates.