A 250-foot crater was discovered in Siberia’s Yamal peninsula in July 2014 and scientists termed it a natural geological phenomenon. However, within days two more holes were discovered in the region baffling the scientists who then termed the discovery ‘mysterious’.
To add to the mystery, four new enormous holes have been spotted by scientists in the same region in Siberia sparking fears and panic. While scientists are still puzzled and finding the explanation behind these craters, experts believe there could be at least 30 more which should be discovered soon.
“We know now of seven craters in the Arctic area. Five are directly on the Yamal peninsula, one in Yamal Autonomous district, and one is on the north of the Krasnoyarsk region, near the Taimyr Peninsula. We have exact locations for only four of them. The other three were spotted by reindeer herders. But I am sure that there are more craters on Yamal, we just need to search for them. I would compare this with mushrooms. When you find one mushroom, be sure there are few more around. I suppose there could be 20 to 30 craters more. It is important not to scare people, but this is a very serious problem. We must research this phenomenon urgently to prevent possible disasters. We cannot rule out new gas emissions in the Arctic and in some cases they can ignite,” Professor Bogoyavlensky, deputy director of the Moscow-based Oil and Gas Research Institute, told The Siberian Times, further revealing that two of the newly-discovered large craters have turned into lakes.
In November 2014, scientists from the Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration entered the 54-foot-deep crater discovered in July. Many had speculated on its causes, often linking it to melting methane hydrate—an ice-like material frozen in the Arctic ground—though expedition leader and center director Vladimir Pushkarev had then said it was too early to come to any conclusion.
According to a media report in December, scientists accepted that rising temperatures were catalyst for such massive unexplained holes. Anna Kurchatova, from the Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Centre, explained that each crater is believed to be formed by underground explosions, themselves a result of global warming.
Carolyn Ruppel, chief of the US Geological Survey’s Gas Hydrates Project, however, theorizes that thecraters were formed by a sudden release of natural gas kept under pressure by the weight of the pingo – a plug of ice that forms near the surface over time. Melting of pingos, thanks to global warming, caused part of the ground to collapse, forming a crater.