Residents of a small village in eastern India are terrified as mysterious sinkholes emitting smoke, ashes, gas and heat are popping open all over the area. Witnesses say the soil is burning, liquid in the holes is bubbling and leaves placed near them burst into flames. Have the gates of hell opened in Old Wahong Village?
Locals say the first hole was discovered in late May by a 16-year-old boy whose foot sank into the ground in a nearby forest and came out severely burned. When adults from the village returned to the site two weeks later, the hole had grown to 30 feet across and the surrounding vegetation was on fire. When they pushed sticks into the nearby ground, gas and bubbling liquid escaped and the ground sank. One villager described the scene:
The burnt soil smells pungent somewhat akin to garlic pickle and resembles dark maroon in color.
Should the residents of Old Wahong Village be worried about the hot sinkholes? That might be a good idea. The village is in the Ukhrul District in the northeast corner of India bordering Myanmar in an extremely remote area that’s eight hours by car from the district’s headquarters. Even worse, it’s near the meeting point of the tectonic plates of India and Myanmar. Their scraping and shifting may explain the current hot sinkholes as well as similar but smaller ones in 2006, 2012 and 2013, not to mention a mud volcano that formed in the neighboring village of New Tusom in 2013.
Local officials, state government investigators and a team from the Manipur University’s Earth Sciences Department are on their way to check out the sinkholes and determine if they’re from an underground fire or potential volcanic activity.
That smell of garlic pickles has me puzzled. Could the hot smoking holes be caused by an underground demon or alien with a taste for kosher food? And wouldn’t “Hot Smoking Sinkholes” be a great name for a band?