New Giant Holes Found at 'End of the World'
Experts puzzle over Siberian craters
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2014 4:14 AM CDT
A recently discovered crater in the Yamal Peninsula in Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Russia.    (AP Photo/Press Service of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug Governor)

(Newser) – One of the most remote areas in the world seems to be slowly turning into something resembling a slice of Swiss cheese. Two new huge holes have been discovered in a Siberian region nicknamed "the end of the world," reports the Siberian Times. A 260-foot-wide crater found in the area caught the world's attention earlier this month, and now researchers and reindeer herders have uncovered two more: one with a diameter of around 50 feet, and another—which nearly swallowed the herders who stumbled across it—with a diameter of only about 13 feet but an estimated depth of up to 328 feet, Gizmodo reports.

At the larger of the two, "there is also ground outside, as if it was thrown as a result of an underground explosion," says a regional lawmaker who inspected the site from a helicopter. "It is not like this is the work of men, but [it] also doesn't look like natural formation," says one of the Russian experts puzzling over the phenomenon. Some of the wilder theories about the formation of the holes include aliens and weapons testing, but the leading theory suggests that they're caused by natural gas deposits bursting, NBC reports, possibly the result of warmer temperatures. (Another Siberian crater, this one 62 miles wide, is believed to sit on top of a diamond field holding "trillions of carats.")

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Jul 29, 2014 4:34 PM CDT
Jul 29, 2014 1:09 PM CDT
With a helicopter, they could definitely slowly "land" a device to measure for a range of VOC's - including methane, with a relatively cheap PID (photoionization detector) and other cheap instruments for measuring for other 'things' all without having to land the helicopter which I admit, could be potentially dangerous especially if they don't already know the cause of the holes. As a geologist for nearly 30-years and knowing the location within Siberia, I think the 'best guess' is methane. The source of the methane could either be from formerly frozen ground - either a permafrost area or it could have been a seasonal, cyclic frozen ground that is now less frozen or not at all due to climate change. The other potential methane source is from a now buried, formerly "extinct" volcano or a buried formerly-active volcanic "tube" that had filled with methane and other volcanic types of gases until the pressure built-up to its bursting point. With the fact that it made such nearly perfect circular holes, I think that the ancient - buried volcanic tube theory fits best here.
Jul 29, 2014 11:21 AM CDT
DeBeers has pulled a PR scam for years now, claiming that diamonds are rare and thus expensive as hell. Diamonds are a very controlled and manipulated market designed to keep the price artificially high and to make it appear that they are rare, when in fact they are not. But hey, nothing says you love her like going in debt and paying an outrageously inflated price for a common gemstone.