A giant, seemingly bottomless pit was discovered in Siberia yesterday, and nobody knows what created it. The hole is about 260 feet across and its depth is unknown. Scientists are studying the crater, and there is evidence that whatever caused it was accompanied by a large thermal event.
The area where it was discovered is on the Yamal Peninsula, in the far north of Russia. Yamal means “End of the Land” in the local Nenet language. In other words, a large bottomless pit was discovered at the end of the world.
It seems unlikely that it’s a hole that goes all the way to hell, or that it was caused by space aliens, but other theories abound. Everything from underground explosions causing salt and gas to collapse the ice shelf, to meteor strikes, earthquakes, global warming, and volcanic activity are popular among internet denizens.
Although the crater was discovered this week, some researchers believe it could be a few years old, based on the levels of permafrost in the area. The area is sparsely populated and is considered undeveloped, though it is rich in resources, especially natural gas, and infrastructure is being built on the peninsula. It is currently unknown whether drilling in the area could have contributed to its creation.
In the past, scientists have had trouble determining what caused other craters in Russia, with one eluding explanation for nearly sixty years. But unless mole people begin popping out and enslaving us for the lizard people, it’s probably best to await further study.
The area is also known for the 2007 discovery of a well preserved mammoth calf by a group of reindeer herders. No word on whether it is close enough to Santa’s base of operations to suggest that he may have had something to do with it, but nothing has been ruled out yet.