One of the great unsolved mysteries of the 20th century may have taken a step closer to resolution, thanks to a late 20th century invention that has changed more than just mapping. That invention is Google Earth and the mystery is the Dyatlov Pass Incident which refers to the unsolved deaths of nine skiers in the Ural Mountains of the then Soviet Union who perished in strange and unusual ways that appeared to be unspeakably horrifying.
“On the pass Dyatlova found traces of a nuclear explosion”
Planetanovosti.com reports (in a rough translation – another gift from Google) that Valentin Degteryov, a longtime Dyatlov Pass investigator, claims he has found a previously unknown crater approximately thirty meters (98 feet) in diameter about three km (1.86 miles) from the location of the pass on the eastern side of the Kholatchakhl mountain (the name ironically means “dead mountain” or “lack of game” in the local Mansi language) where on February 2, 1959, a group of experienced ski hikers led by Igor Dyatlov mysteriously perished. After examining an aerial photograph of the terrain at 61 ° 45'48.6 "N 59 ° 24'30.2" E, Degteryov concluded he was looking that the remnants of a weak nuclear explosion, which turned rocks in the area to a reddish glass.
Military testing of nuclear weapons or a crash of an errant nuclear missile has been one of the theories presented to explain in particular why traces of radiation were found on some the clothing of some of the victims and why some of the bodies mysteriously had orange skin and grey hair, neither of which were their natural colors. Also, the site was immediately sealed off and the records were suppressed by the Soviet government, hinting at a cover-up of a secret military operation or accident. However, both theories were eventually discounted. A nuclear explosion, even a weak one, would have dispersed radiation on all of the equipment and their clothing and affected all of their bodies, not just a random few. While the Soviet government was indeed highly secretive and controlling, its eventual demise resulted in all of the records being released and none indicated a nuclear explosion.
And yet … Degteryov found something he believes can only be explained by a nuclear explosion. (The image can be seen in this video at about 0:56.) Of course, it’s winter in the Urals, so he won’t be able to mount an expedition until spring to examine the area himself. It seems strange, with the amount of investigating that has already taken place in and around the pass that no one has found it before. Also, the nuclear option doesn’t explain some of the unusual injuries (broken bones without an external wound, missing tongues and eyes) or the report by another group of hikers about 50 km (31 mi) away who claimed they saw strange orange spheres in the sky that same night.
It’s no wonder ‘death by Yeti’ is also one of the theories. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until spring for any additional information. In the meantime, keep checking Google Earth.