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First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world'

By 0 and 0 and 0
17 July 2014

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The crater has an icy lake at its bottom with water cascading down its eroding permafrost walls. Picture: Andrey Naumenko, 'Yamal-Region'

The crater on the Yamal Peninsula was caused by aliens, a meteorite, a stray missile, or an explosive gas cocktail released due to global warming, according to various theories in recent days.

Images of the remarkable phenomenon have gone round the world since The Siberian Times highlighted helicopter images of the giant hole earlier this week. 

The first expedition to the scene - the scientists have just returned - took these epic pictures of the hole, including the darkening pattern on the inner rim. 

Now they are using Russian satellite pictures to fix the moment when it suddenly formed. 

They found the crater - around up to 70 metres deep - has an icy lake at its bottom, and water is cascading down its eroding permafrost walls.

It is not as wide as aerial estimates which suggested between 50 and 100 metres.

First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 

The first scientific expedition has just returned from the site, now the experts are working with satellite pictures to fix the moment when the crater has formed. Pictures: Marya Zulinova, press service of the Governor YaNAO

While the team insist that it is a 'natural phenomenon', they insist further study is essential to understanding the formation of the crater in lake-studded Yamal - a name which means 'end of the world' in the local tongue. 

Andrey Plekhanov, Senior Researcher at the State Scientific Centre of Arctic Research, said: 'The crater has more of an oval than a circular shape, it makes it harder to calculate the exact diameter. As of now our estimates is about thirty metres.

'If we try to measure diameter together with soil emission, the so-called parapet, then the diameter is up to sixty meters.

'The crater is from 50 to 70 metres deep'.

First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 

The first look down the crater. Picture: Andrey Naumenko, 'Yamal-Region'

The researchers were unable to make their way to the bottom of the lake, but did go inside the crater. 

'There is ice inside the crater which gradually thaws under the sun.

'Also there is melted water flowing down from its sides, you can see water traces on the pictures. The crater is filled with ice by about eighty per cent. '

He stressed: 'We are working with space photographs to figure out exact time of its formation.

'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. 

'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.

'But we have to do our tests and research first and then say it more definitively'. 

First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 

The crater is filled with ice by about eighty per cent. Pictures: Marya Zulinova, press service of the Governor YaNAO

The best theory for now is that the crater was formed by internal - not external - forces. 

'For now we can say for sure that under the influence of internal processes there was an ejection in the permafrost. I want to stress that it was not an explosion, but an ejection, so there was no heat released as it happened'.

Earlier scientists were sure there was burning visible on the sides of the crater. 

'I also want to recall a theory that our scientists worked on in the 1980s - it has been left and then forgotten for a number of years. 

'The theory was that the number of Yamal lakes formed because of exactly such natural process happening in the permafrost. 

'Such kind of processes were taking place about 8,000 years ago. Perhaps they are repeating nowadays. If this theory is confirmed, we can say that we have witnessed a unique natural process that formed the unusual landscape of Yamal peninsula. 

First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 

Experts examine the newly-discovered hole in the earth in Siberia. Pictures: Marya Zulinova, press service of the Governor YaNAO

'There was no traces of anthropogenic impact near the crater, just as there was no traces of human presence, except for very few sledge traces and of course reindeer traces.

'If it was a man-made disaster linked by gas pumping, it would have happened closer to the gas fields', Andrey Plekhanov told The Siberian Times. 

These are about 30 kilometres away. 'Gas workers would have been on alert, letting us know about it immediately.'

Denigrating speculation of aliens or UFOs he insisted:'There is nothing mysterious about it. There is no weird or unexplained feelings there, we came back safe and sound'.

Despite this, he said: 'I've never seen anything like this, even though I have been to Yamal many times.'

First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 


First pictures from inside the 'crater at the end of the world' 

The hole is in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous, some 30 kilometres from the Bovanenkovo gas field. Pictures: Marya Zulinova, press service of the Governor YaNAO

The crater is different from others on Yamal.

'There is nothing mysterious here, it is simply Mother Nature's law with its internal pressure and changes in temperatures', Andrey Plekhanov said.

Marina Leibman,Senior Researcher at the Earth's Cryosphere Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said: 'About the future of the crater - its walls are constantly thawing, water is gathering up and I suspect that it gets frozen at the bottom of the crater. If the water stream intensifies - for example because of the hot second part of July - then it won't have enough time to freeze. This will likely lead to a formation of a new lake.'

Vladimir Pushkarev, Director of the Russian State Scientific Center of the Arctic Research, 'It is an interesting phenomenon, there is every sense in continuing scientific work on it and right now we are discussing the best ways of exploring the site.'

The hole is in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous, some 30 kilometres from the Bovanenkovo gas field. 

Anna Kurchatova from the Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Centre thinks the crater was formed by a water, salt and gas mixture igniting an underground explosion, the result of global warming. 

Gas accumulated in ice mixed with sand beneath the surface, and that this was mixed with salt - some 10,000 years ago this area was a sea.

Global warming, causing an 'alarming' melt in the under soil ice, released gas causing an effect like the popping of a Champagne bottle cork, she suggests.

Yamal, a large peninsula jutting into Arctic waters, is Russia's main production area for gas supplied to Europe.

Comments (173)

with all the eyes in the sky, have we looked back to see what it looked like the day before
just me, SC-USA
19/07/2014 04:46
9
4
a very impressive earth hole
Giancarlo Cannone, Andria, Italy
19/07/2014 04:43
3
2
So wonderful to be a witness to this phenomenon. Although if you look at the pictures of the landscape, and the other bodies of water, it looks like this has been happening for millennia. No heat signature means no explosion, raised rim of ejecta means no sinkhole. And when you look at the rim, notice the greenery growing on it - says this must have happened a while ago, as in a year or two.

Also, it almost looks like a river of some sort, flowed from the hole into the land as indicated by the brighter green growth.
Susan Grigsby, California, US
19/07/2014 04:23
12
1
There's cameras everywhere in Russia and no one got this? They must be hiding something.
SS, USA
19/07/2014 03:38
16
7
For you global warming people, check out the info from the SuspiciousObservers



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PDC5s3VD7I&list=PLHSoxioQtwZcqdt3LK6d66tMreI4gqIC-
The Lorax, Albany OR, USA
19/07/2014 03:12
6
4
Jesus Christ our lord did this.... just kidding, no one had posted any crazy religious comments yet so I took care of it.
Jake Kona, Swansea, IL
19/07/2014 02:22
34
4
Hmmm....an underground explosion.

http://barentsobserver.com/en/sections/briefs/russian-railways-does-not-want-gazproms-yamal-railway

http://www.total.com/en/energies-expertise/oil-gas/exploration-production/projects-achievements/lng/yamal-lng
Becki Marshall, USA
19/07/2014 01:49
0
3
Looks like electricity at work... A very large electrical arch hit this spot.



See lab example: https://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2013/01/28/mars-in-the-laboratory/



This video proposes that Martian topography was also etched by global electrical events: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRV1e5_tB6Y



Our natural Electric Universe at work...



JAS
John, Stuttgart, Germany
19/07/2014 00:46
3
5
Maybe if we fill the hole with money, global warming will go away?
björn, dingle
19/07/2014 00:32
30
8
I have never seen a sink hole rimmed with ejecta before.
Kirk, USA
19/07/2014 00:21
14
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This is possibly the combination of two or more of the theories combined. Perhaps the hole was created by a meteor many years ago and was then filled with ice until recently due to warming or other geological events. Just a thought.
Brian Moore, raleigh
18/07/2014 23:20
4
5
It looks like a pingo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pingo
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/18/new-pictures-of-the-hole-in-yamal-and-pingo-was-its-name-o/
Charlie A, USA
18/07/2014 22:40
4
2
And... If it was made from a big laser? It can put all materials over the boiling temperature.

It's only a suggestion.

Best regards, mad ita
mad italian, italy
18/07/2014 22:25
2
3
Looks to be geothermal in creation and once samples are tested it'll be interesting to find out what forces were involved.
Steven Paschetto, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
18/07/2014 22:19
0
1
I think it create due to hydrostatic pressure of underground water,just like water blow from manhole...
Ershad Ud Dowlah Pahlowan, Dhaka,Bangladesh
18/07/2014 22:05
7
0

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