Oct 25, 2016 I Paul Seaburn

Mysterious Cauldrons in Siberian Valley of Death Still Unsolved

A story popped up this week concerning a region of Siberia whose Russian name means “Valley of Death” and the mysterious partially-submerged metal cauldrons alleged to be seen there that have defied explanation and have been attributed to aliens. Are they some kind of warning or protection system? Could these be related to the mysterious Siberian craters?

The video refers to an expedition – possibly in 2013 - to the “Valley of Death” (more about that later) led by scientist Michale Visok to investigate alleged giant metal cauldrons whose existence has been claimed in local folk tales. The area was warm enough that the cauldrons were said to be partially submerged in marshes. While the report gave great details on the makeup of the team (3 geologists, 1 astrophysicist, 1 mechanical engineer and 3 research assistants), there was less on the metal objects they found (submerged in small pools 2-3 feet deep, metallic-sounding when walked on, smooth with sharp points on outer edges) and they somehow neglected to take any pictures! There was a reference to another expedition to possibly cut into the metal but no later reports can be found.


According to earlier reports, the folklore of the cauldrons dates back to the formation of the Uliuiu Cherkechekh or Valley of Death some 800 years ago by a cataclysmic event like the Tunguska meteorite in 1908. Stories of fireballs, explosions and scorched earth sound like a similar meteorite impact. Were the metal cauldrons there already? That’s where a different mix of folk tales starts.

A frequently-seen drawing of a local on a reindeer inspecting a cauldron

An early report of a copper cauldron with only the top exposed dates back to 1853 but the most popular ones are about nomads who found similar metal ones in the 1930 and later who used them to get out of the winter cold until they became sick from them. What made them sick? Could be radiation. Could be methane. Could be aliens.

A popular explanation for the cauldrons is that they’re a meteorite protection bunker system installed by aliens for humans in this area of high meteorite (and possibly even hostile aliens) area.

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A drawing of what a cauldron might look like before sinking

This all sounds promising, and it would be if there were some pictures of these cauldrons. Unfortunately, all that exists are the few simple drawings of underground dwellings. The reason given for not being able to see them now is that they’ve sunk under the permafrost and only earth-covered domes are visible.

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Pingo or covered cauldron?

Which leads us to the Siberian holes. The most popular scientific non-alien explanation for these craters is that they’re the result of explosions caused by pingos – underground methane bubbles covered by a frozen dirt plug that explode or collapse when the permafrost melts or the methane is ignited. The pre-crater pingos could be dirt-covered metal cauldrons to those with limited experience and vivid imaginations.

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A selfie in front of a mysterious metal cauldron would have been better than this.

Where does that leave us today? We have a Valley of Death in an area with a history of destructive meteorites. We have videos of researchers in swamps allegedly standing on the metallic roofs of underground cauldrons. We have ancient folk tales mixed with modern ones. We have drawings but no photographs.

The mysterious cauldrons of Siberia’s Valley of Death are still a mystery waiting to be solved. Kickstarter project anyone?

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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