Video: Team reaches the giant Siberian hole at 'the end of the world'
The depth of the pit is still unconfirmed
A mysterious 80m wide crater discovered in Siberia left the world baffled yesterday, with initial speculative explanations ranging from the sensible (possibly a below-ground explosion?) to the ridiculous (obviously it's a Sarlacc Pit).
Well now man has reached it, with a scientific expedition including a representative from Siberia's Emergencies Ministry heading to the hole to investigate.
A Russian news report on the visit has yielded better images of the crater, showing rocks tumbling into it as researchers take samples.
A meteorite has been ruled out as the cause of the hole, with the state of the earth around the edge of it pointing to a possible past explosion.
It sits around 1,800 miles east of Moscow in a barren permafrost stretch of Yamal, an area that translates as "the end of the world".
The region is key in Russia's oil and gas production, lending weight to the explosion theory, though a 28 inch layer of permafrost mentioned in the video is puzzling given the amount of heat that would have produced with a blast of that size.
Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences are said to be collecting soil, air and water samples around the hole, which has an inner diameter of 130 feet – though its depth is unknown.
Anna Kurchatova, from the Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Centre, told the Siberian Times global warming could be a cause.
She believes the hole was formed by a mixture of water, salt and gas, igniting an underground explosion.
The gas had accumulated in ice mixed with sand beneath the surface of what was a sea 10,000 years ago, and ignited when the permafrost melted “like popping a champagne bottle”, she claimed.
If her analysis is correct, another explosion could have worrying implications for the many underground gas pipelines running through the region.
- 1 Woman 'suffocates newborn baby in plastic bag and puts it in her desk minutes after giving birth'
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital in London where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Nepal earthquake: Rescuers forced to dig with their bare hands in search for survivors as images show damage to historic buildings
Ed Miliband and Boris Johnson in angry clash live on BBC's Andrew Marr Show
Bali Nine executions: British grandmother on death row in Indonesia Lindsay Sandiford says she 'just wants to get it over with'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...