Siberia Yamal Peninsula
July 17, 2014

A Mysterious Hole At The ‘End Of The World’

Joshua Garrett for - Your Universe Online

What could cause an 80 meter hole to form somewhere in northern Siberia? A meteorite strike? Aliens? Cthulhu? Researchers all over the world are scratching their heads over this one, as no one seems to have an answer they are 100 percent sure of.

Reported by the Siberian Times, this giant hole of unknown depth appeared rather suddenly in the Yamal Peninsula, which is said to translate as “end of the world,” giving the whole story a very apocalyptic vibe. It has caused many out there to be concerned about potential meteor strikes and other unexpected natural phenomena.

A team of scientists has already been dispatched to explore and study the hole, but according to one New South Wales polar scientist, this may just be the result of something called a “pingo.” A pingo is a block of ice that has grown into a hill in the frozen ground. That ice can eventually push itself through the earth and then, when it melts, it leaves an exposed crater in its wake. As the permafrost can be hundreds of feet thick in places, this can allow for very large ice features such as this one. As Dr. Chris Fogwill, the aforementioned polar scientist from New South Wales, told the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), “Certainly from the images I've seen it looks like a periglacial feature, perhaps a collapsed pingo.”

It has also been speculated that this might have been the result of some kind of underground explosion. This theory is given some credit given that the earth around the hole appears to have been pushed outward, as though something were coming out rather than striking down as would be the case with a meteor impact. Additionally, the hole does appear only 30 kilometers from Yamal's biggest known gas field, known as Bovanenkovo, which certainly supports the underground explosion theory. According to Anna Kurchatova of the Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Center, this was likely caused by global warming, which is causing the permafrost in Siberia to melt, and could have released gas that was trapped in the ice, causing an explosion, reports Paul Heltzel for Discovery News.

While their theories differ, Dr. Fogwill also cites global warming as a potential cause of this mystery, telling SMH reporters Colin Cosier and Simon Morris, “We're seeing much more activity in permafrost areas than we've seen in the historical past. A lot of this relates to this high degree of warming around these high arctic areas which are experiencing some of the highest rates of warming on earth.” He also notes that global warming may mean that there will be more pingos like this one in the future.

A view of the hole has already been widely shown online, reportedly filmed by a Russian engineer, however there have been many initial reports and comments that label this video as a fake. The research team is scheduled to arrive at the site sometime near the time of this writing, and should be able to give us more concrete answers as to the origin of this massive hole. Until then, it is likely that the apocalyptic sounding reports of it will continue.

As for me, until I hear otherwise, I am going to continue imagining that it was created by Cthulhu or another of the Great Old Ones, but then again I'm weird like that.