A hole about 260 feet wide has been discovered in the Yamal Peninsula, located in Russia’s Siberia, baffling researchers as to what it is.
The hole has been described as the “end of the world” by local residents, state-run broadcaster RT reported.
An expedition was sent to the peninsula to determine what caused it.
The crater is believed to have been a recent formation. The hole–which appears bottomless–is said to have opened up about two years ago, reported RT.
The Russian Academy of Sciences as well as the Russian Emergencies Ministry have been dispatched to investigate and take soil, air, and water samples.
The precise location of the hole is about 30km from the gas field of Bovanenkovo. The area is in Russia’s oil and gas region of Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.
There’s been a number of conspiracy theories about the hole, which include it being a “UFO landing spot.” Some have said it was caused by a meteorite, but Russian officials have ruled that out.
An official with Russia’s Emergency Ministry said that “we can definitely say that it’s not a meteorite. No details yet.”
“Occurrences like this are nothing new in Yamal,” said a spokesman for the governor’s office, according to Interfax-Ural.”This happened last year, as well as two years ago… earth and ice behave unpredictably An underwater river might have moved the soil,” he added and said, “So, there’s no emergency to speak of here.”
University of New South Wales polar scientist Dr Chris Fog told the Sydney Morning Herald it’s probably a geological formation known as a pingo.
“Certainly from the images I’ve seen it looks like a periglacial feature, perhaps a collapsed pingo,” Dr Fogwill said. “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,” Fogwill added.