Scientists have finally rappelled down to the bottom of one of the three Siberian craters spotted by an aircraft pilot in July, 2014. At the time the Internet went crazy with conspiracy theories about underground explosions, meteorites and, of course, aliens! However, thanks to the Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration's mission we are closer to finding out how they were formed. Click through for the beautiful pictures — and to discover the 54-foot-deep hole from the inside.
Located in Russia’s Yamal Peninsula, the enormous craters appeared seemingly out of nowhere back in July. But last week, scientists managed to reach the base of one of them using climbing equipment and brought back data and a set of amazing pictures. Before they could make the descent, they had to wait a few months until the lake at the bottom had frozen. During summer the crater’s floor is like a mud bath with water pouring down from the ground above.
The leader of the mission and director of the Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration, Vladimir Pushkarev, told The Siberian Times: “We took all the probes we planned, and made measurements. Now scientists need time to process all the data and only then can they draw conclusions.”
However, some researchers already believe that underground gas explosions caused the craters, as the temperature beneath the hole was “higher than normal.” The explosions might have been caused by unusually warm climatic conditions and the fact the bigger hole is right on the intersection of two tectonic faults — although the region is generally stable in a seismological sense.
Another theory is that the holes aren’t new at all but that no one had ever noticed them until now, so investigations are also being made into satellites photos from the 1980s. Stay tuned!
Via Siberian Times
Photos by Vladimir Pushkarev / Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration