This week, a group of intrepid adventurers investigated a giant sinkhole located in northern Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula. Using climbing equipment, the scientists from the Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration plunged 10.5 meters (54 feet) into one of three open chasms, hoping to shed light on its mysterious formation.
The crater, which suddenly materialized in July, has intrigued scientists for several months. Upon reaching its bottom – appropriately deemed the “end of the world” – scientists immediately began to investigate into the mystery.
“We managed to go down into the funnel. All was successful, “ said Vladimir Pushkarev, the director of the Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration.
He 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.”
For right now, however, scientists believe that gas hydrates – an ice-like crystalline solid formed from the combination of water and natural gas – are responsible for underground explosions that lead to the creation of these sinkholes.
According to the experts, the gas hydrates are similar to the ones that are seen around the Bermuda Triangle, located in the western part of the north Atlantic Ocean. The phenomenon, also known as the Devil’s Triangle, is a “loosely-defined” region where ships and aircrafts are rumored to have mysteriously disappeared. Thus, a thorough investigation into the craters can possibly help scientists to also explain the Bermuda Triangle.
In the mean time, the team has already started to take samples of the surrounding environment and have carried out radiolocation tests at a depth of 200 meters. They will also continue to explore the region and take pictures, which will be used for evaluation purposes. A side by side comparison with photos taken from space in the 1980s will inform scientists if there were or are any similar craters nearby.
“As of now, we don’t see anything dangerous in the sudden appearance of such holes,” Pushkarev suggests, “but we’ve got to study them properly to make absolutely sure we understand the nature of their appearance and don’t need to be afraid about them.”