A second hole has been discovered in Siberia’s Yamal peninsula, matching a crater that mysteriously appeared there several weeks ago, leading to rampant speculation about the cause of the unusual geological event.
The second hole is located about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) away from the first, and was discovered by reindeer herders, according to Salon. Local lawmaker Mikhail Lapsui related that the second hole is “exactly” like the first one, although it is “much smaller.” like the first crater, it appears to have been formed very recently, and “inside the crater itself, snow can be seen,” according to Lapusi.
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The first hole, which is estimated to be about 50 meters wide and 70 meters deep, was discovered two weeks ago, as The Inquisitr reported. Many speculated on the origin of the mysterious hole before scientists were able to reach it last week. Upon examination, they determined that the hole showed an “ejection” of material, positing that it was formed by an underground explosion caused by the combination of water, salt, and gas.
Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist writing for Slate, theorized that the formation of both holes could be connected with climate change:
“Around the time the first crater is estimated to have formed—2012 or 2013—temperatures were unusually high for that part of Siberia. In general, the whole Arctic region is the fastest warming place on the planet, warming about twice as fast as global averages. A study published last year said the Arctic hasn’t been this warm in at least 120,000 years.”
The scientists who first examined the hole also believe that global warming may be a factor, according to the Siberian Times:
“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.”
Andrey Plekhanov, another researcher, also told the Siberian Times that “there is nothing mysterious here. It is simply Mother Nature’s law with its internal pressure and changes in temperatures.” While it isn’t likely that a sudden, catastrophic release of methane from under the Siberian permafrost will occur, scientists are nonetheless paying close attention to the area around the mysterious holes in the Yamal peninsula.
[Image via The Moscow Times]