July 30, 2014
More Mysterious Holes Appear At The ‘End Of The World’
Joshua Garrett for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Just how deep does this rabbit hole go? Further than initially expected.
Earlier this month, a massive hole was found at the “end of the world,” more accurately known as Yamal Peninsula. Scientists and researchers were not quite sure what to make of it at the time. Was it a meteor strike? A collapsed pingo? Aliens? Results were inconclusive. Now, to add more to this strange mystery, two new holes have been reported, one found by a group of reindeer herders who discovered the hole when they nearly fell into it. Another hundreds of miles to the northeast in the Krasnoyarsk region. The original team sent to the first hole at the end of the world has now sent detachments out to investigate these two newer finds.
The strongest theory as to how these holes formed, particularly the first one, is due to a pingo – a large chunk of ice found underground that can create a hole when it melts.
Dr. Chris Fogwill of the University of New South Wales, who was one of the first to speculate that the first hole was a result of a pingo, told the Sydney Morning Herald, “This is obviously a very extreme version of that, and if there's been any interaction with the gas in the area, that is a question that could only be answered by going there.”
Andrei Plekhanov of Scientific Research Center of the Arctic, another scientist looking into the possible causes for the sudden appearance of these holes, added that the holes could have been the result of a build-up of excess pressure underground due to the changing temperatures in the region, further noting that 80 percent of the crater appeared to be made up of ice and that there have been absolutely no traces found of any sort of explosion, which eliminates the possibility of a meteorite being the cause of them.
“Could it be linked to the global warming? Well, we have to continue our research to answer that question,” Dr. Plekhanov said according to the Daily Mail. “Two previous summers – years 2012 and 2013 were relatively hot for Yamal, perhaps this has somehow influenced the formation of the crater. But we have to do our tests and research first and then say it more definitively.”
Many questions remain unanswered at this time regarding the regions new-found similarity to Swiss cheese. One of the experts sent to investigate the phenomenon noted. “It is not like this is the work of men, but [it] also doesn't look like natural formation,” reports Daily Mail reporters Will Stewart and Ellie Zolfagharifard.
There is still a lot of reluctance from the researchers to conclude definitively that these events are a reaction spurred by climate change, though the previous theory that it was formed when melting permafrost triggered an underground blast of methane gas was bolstered by the discovery of an icy lake sitting at the bottom of the 230 foot hole.
According to Marina Leibman, chief scientist from the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of the Earth Cryosphere – which is leading this investigation - “Undoubtedly, we need to study all such formations. It is necessary to be able to predict their occurrence. Each new funnel provides additional information for scientists,” reports the Siberian Times.
We can only hope that these new holes will give them enough additional information to find the answers they are looking for.