Skip to main content

For a while now it seems craters have been opening up in Siberia as a result of some kind of gas issue. In recent times a very large one has opened up, and it has many quite shocked. 

This current crater is 164-foot and has appeared along the Yamal Peninsula. While it might not sound like much, this enormous hole is a huge problem because we don’t know much about it. It is known as a hydrolaccolith according to Popular Mechanics and is the 17th of its kind in the Siberian Tundra. According to researchers, it seems the presence of these gaping holes is because of methane gas getting trapped beneath the surface of our planet causing it to bulge up and explode as melting persists.

Gizmodo reported as follows on this crater and the presence of others:

Journalists on assignment to cover something else entirely on the Yamal Peninsula in northwest Siberia happened upon the perfectly concentric wound in the Earth. The footage showing the uninterrupted tundra marred by a pit to hell was shot in July but released over the weekend.

It looks like a bomb crater, but the reason for the hole isn’t an explosive dropped from above but rather what’s happening beneath the surface. The tundra of Siberia and in other parts of the world is undergird by permafrost, a frozen soil rich in the greenhouse gas methane. Unfortunately, the climate crisis is causing that soil to thaw, releasing methane into the atmosphere. Bad news for the planet, to be sure, since methane is a greenhouse gas roughly 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide (permafrost can also release that, too, because of course it can). But changes in permafrost can also cause Earth to occasionally yeet a hunk of tundra into the sky.

Methane is also the main ingredient in natural gas, which, as you may happen to know, can catch fire or explode under pressure. Sue Natali, Arctic program director at Woodwell Climate Research Center, said in an email that the gas can build up in pockets of unfrozen soil in the permafrost known as cryopegs.

“Warming and thawing of surface soil weakens the frozen ‘cap,’ resulting in the blowout that causes the craters,” she said.

The Yamal Peninsula has seen a spate of these craters since 2014. Natali said there haven’t been enough to peg them to any specific feature there, but the structure of the permafrost with a thick icy layer and widespread presence of cryopegs and methane-rich natural gas deposits could be one possible explanation for why it’s the crater capital of the Arctic.

All of this having been said it has not kept conspiracy theorists from throwing their ideas out there in regard to this hole and others like it. According to Daily Mail, some think it could have something to do with secret weapon tests or even aliens. Regardless though, as time continues to pass we will learn more about these interesting craters and how they come about. 

To see this enormous crater for yourself take a peek at the video below. Could you imagine coming across something like this? I for one would be very much blown away, that’s for sure.