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Two More Siberian Holes Discovered

Jul 29, 2014 11:45 AM EDT
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Second Hole
As if Siberia understood that the world hasn't gotten enough of giant mysterious holes, the Sleeping Land has produced two more massive crater-like holes. In fact, one isn't even that far from the original at the "end of the world." What makes these a bit different is what the locals are saying about how they formed.
(Photo : press service of the Governor YaNAO)

As if Siberia understood that the world hasn't gotten enough of giant mysterious holes, the Sleeping Land has produced two more massive crater-like holes. In fact, one isn't even that far from the original at the "end of the world." What makes these a bit different is what the locals are saying about how they formed.

Before the evening of September 27, 2013, locals from the Siberian village of Antipayuta claim they noticed smoking ground near the Taz district. Following a sudden and bright flash of light, a crater had formed around what appears to be a deep hole about 15 meters in diameter.

Another local resident claims that a large celestial body streaked through the evening sky to fall where the hole can now be found.

"I flew by helicopter to inspect this funnel on Saturday 19 July," Mikhail Lapsui, a deputy of the regional parliament, told the Siberian Times. "There is ground outside, as if it was thrown as a result of an underground explosion."

This is the second of two massive holes that are currently in Siberia's Yamal Peninsula, a region commonly referred to as "the end of the world."

A third similar hole - complete with a crater and "perfectly formed funnel" estimated to be up to four meters in diameter and 100 meters deep - was found in the Taymry Peninsula, east of Yamal.

It looks nothing like "the work of men, but also doesn't look like natural formation," local herders from the village of Nosok told the Times.

But what both of these do look like is the work of a pingo - a natural geological process that experts have theorized formed the first hole after the initial on-site investigation. According to the British Society for Geomorphology, pingos occur when elevated temperatures cause rising ground water to build and push a mass of ice towards the surface. Once the ice pops like a cork from a Champaign bottle, it melts away, leaving a very deep hole and ice water.

Still, that doesn't mean that experts should simply ignore the accounts of excited locals, no matter how fantastical they may seem. A bright flash? An explosion? It's possible considering the second hole discovered is relatively close to a huge natural gas extraction plant.

"Undoubtedly, we need to study all such formations," said Marina Leibman, the chief scientist of the Earth Cryosphere Institute

He told local coverage URA.RU that he hopes to close the case of the mysterious formations once and for all.

"Each new funnel provides additional information for scientists," he said.

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