More Giant Craters Open in Siberia, Prompting 'Urgent Investigation' of Cause
Last July, a seemingly bottomless pit of unknown origin opened in Siberia, in a region affectionately nicknamed "the end of the world." Although there were several theories as to its source, scientists were mostly baffled. Now, Siberian researchers have found at least four similar craters, and are now calling for an "urgent investigation" of the phenomenon.
When the enormous hole was first discovered, theories ranged from a meteorite impact to global warming to a passageway to Hollow Earth to the obligatory UFO conspiracy theories to one particularly colorful paper detailing why the hole may be a distant cousin of the Bermuda Triangle. Now, the predominant theory points to global warming as the culprit; Siberian researchers believe that unusually warm temperatures caused an explosion of gas hydrates under the vast permafrost. (This theory is also, believe it or not, related to the Bermuda Triangle hypothesis.) But thus far, there has been no definitive proof for any of the explanations.
Now, according to the Siberian Times, scientists have safety concerns after finding several more of these "exploding holes," some of which are surrounded by water-filled "baby craters."
"We know now of seven craters in the Arctic area," said Moscow scientist Vasily Bogoyavlensky. "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 could be difficult to discover the origin of these craters, as the conditions surrounding them are fairly dangerous. "These objects need to be studied, but it is rather dangerous for the researchers," said Bogoyavlensky. "We know that there can occur a series of gas emissions over an extended period of time, but we do not know exactly when they might happen." But still,he contended that they "must research this phenomenon urgently, to prevent possible disasters." And indeed, one can imagine that if they don't discover the cause of these craters in the near future, they could begin to swallow people whole, causing serious injury and possibly death.
This isn't the same type of sinkhole or anything, but here's a slightly terrifying video of a South Korean couple being sucked into a giant sinkhole in the sidewalk: