If you’re looking for an abyss to gaze into, a new one just mysteriously appeared at the end of the world. A giant hole in the Earth about 262 feet in diameter was recently discovered in Russia’s far north, and scientists are baffled about the cause of the chasm. Located in Siberia on the Yamal Peninsula (a place whose name translates to ‘end of the world’), the hole appeared near a forest just 19 miles from the largest part of the Yamal liquefied natural gas (LNG) project – the largest of its kind in Russia.

The force that created the hole is still unknown – there has been speculation that it was caused by something from space, like a meteorite strike that collapsed underlying rock layers, but a spokesperson from the Russian government ruled out this theory. At least one scientist is postulating that the hole is an offshoot of global warming processes.

Anna Kurchatova of the Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Centre told the Siberian Times she thinks the crater was formed by water, salt and gas mixing together underground and igniting to create an underground explosion. Her theory is that melting permafrost ice released gas that mixed with sand beneath the surface and combined with salt from an ancient seabed to cause a massive release of gas akin to the “popping of a champagne bottle cork.”

Related: Unexplained Human-Swallowing Holes Appear at National Park Sand Dunes

An expedition organized by Yamal authorities including two Russian scientists and a specialist from the Emergencies Ministry will soon be heading to the area to collect soil, air and water samples from the area around the hole.

Via Siberian Times

Image and video via Youtube, Bulka