The mysterious crater found earlier this month in the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia has been inspected by scientists who determined it was not caused by a UFO, a meteorite, a stray missile or an exploding gas bubble and, disappointingly, is not Hellmouth. To quote Stephen Stills, “But what it is ain’t exactly clear.”
Yamal means “End of the World” in the language of the area’s indigenous people, the Nenets, which explains why it took a Russian team from the State Scientific Centre of Arctic Research a week to get there, take pictures and speculate on possible causes.
The crater is only about 30 meters wide, not the 50-to-100 meters estimated by the helicopter passengers who first spotted it, and is oval rather than round. The hole is 70 meters deep and has an icy lake at the bottom which fills about 80 percent of the hole. Water is pouring down the walls of the hole as the permafrost surrounding it melts.
Researcher Andrey Plekhanov gave an estimate on the age of the hole.
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.
He also speculated on the cause.
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.
The scientists will now use Russian satellite images to determine exactly when the crater formed, a service that is also offered by NASA to track and predict sinkholes in the U.S.
Meanwhile, the search for Hellmouth continues.