New details have emerged regarding one of the giant Siberian craters that appeared in the permafrost near the “End of the World,” the local designation of Russia’s northern Yamal Peninsula, back in 2013. The massive hole in question, a huge crater that flares out on the Taimyr Peninsula (next door, geographically, to Yamal), has dramatically increased in size — more than 15 times its original dimensions. And there are those that may have witnessed its creation…
The Daily Mail reported this week that there just may have been witnesses to the event that occurred on the Taimyr Peninsula where a giant crater seemed to suddenly open up in the natural gas-rich area, leaving the local population and scientists alike mystified. According to scientist Dr. Vladimir Epifanov, residents have confirmed verbally that there was an explosion that lit up the sky prior to the discovery of what would later be called the Deryabinsky crevice.
Epifanov, the first expert who has visited the Taimyr site, told the Siberian Times, “There is verbal information that residents of nearby villages – at a distance of 70-100 km – heard a sound like an explosion, and one of them watched a clear glow in the sky. It was about one month after the Chelyabinsk meteorite.”
(Note: The Chelyabinsk meteorite was captured on dozens of cameras all over Russia when it blazed across the sky in March 2013. As it disintegrated in the atmosphere, it exploded with the force of roughly 500 kilotons of TNT, sending a shockwave through the Chelyabinsk Oblast that sent over 1,500 people in search of medical treatment and damaged over 7,200 buildings across the region.)
The giant hole in the Siberian permafrost was initially discovered by reindeer herders who stumbled upon it. The hole then measured about four meters (13.1 feet) wide and perhaps 100 meters (328 feet) deep. Displaced clods of soil, sand, and ice were found as far as a kilometer away around the crater.
Now, the Deryabinsky crevice is some 70 meters (nearly 230 feet) in diameter.
At the time of its discovery, the rest of the world was entranced by the oddity, especially since it just added more mystery alongside the other strange craters that were found about 300 miles away at the “End of the World.” And as scientists proffered several explanations (from trapped gas explosions to meteorite holes) for what may have caused the Siberian craters, media outlets as well as the internet and social media responded with explanations a bit less restrained (like military missile tests and UFOs).
It is believed that the locals thought that the explosion heard — and the “glow” in the sky — came from another meteorite coming to Earth from space. There remains no explanation for the phenomena witnessed, nor is there a definitive answer as to what actually has caused the craters in Taimyr and Yamal. However, current scientific consensus indicates that the formation of the craters has been caused by climate change and the melting of the permafrost in the region.
But not all agree that climate change is the culprit. As for the Siberian craters at the “End of the World,” scientists cite “pingos,” or dome-shaped mounds over a core of ice that have erupted under pressure of methane gas released through rising temperatures, as the probable method.
Epifanov has a different theory to explain the Taimyr crater. He believes the eruption that created the giant Siberian hole originated far too deeply inside the Earth to be connected to climate change. He cites the cause as gas hydrates degrading, a common occurrence in permafrost regions, some 500 meters down that caused the release of methane, which subsequently became trapped at 100 meters depth before erupting.
Regardless as to their origin, the massive holes remain a source of speculation and mystery. And from Taimyr to the “End of the World” (Yamal), where dozens of the giant Siberian craters have opened up, scientists like Vladimir Epifanov are maintaining a watchful eye.
[Image via Shutterstock]