Two more holes have been discovered at "the end of the world" in Siberia. This pair of unusual features joins another crater, recently discovered in the frigid far east of Russia.
The Yamal Peninsula, which translates as "The End of the World," is the site of one of these two new craters, stretching nearly 50 feet across. The original formation was also found in the same region, although hundreds of miles away from this newly discovered funnel, which formed near the village of Antipayuta. Like its companion, this second of the new craters is about 50 feet across, although measurements are challenging, due to curved ground near the top of the features.
A third crater developed on the Taymyr Peninsula, in the Kransoyark region of Siberia. It was discovered by reindeer herders from the village of Nosok, some of whom nearly fell into the hole as they traveled by the feature. They took pictures of the unusual tunnel formation, and sent the images to the Norilsk Taimyr Explorers' Club.
Global warming may be to blame for these bizarre holes, according to some geologists. Based on this theory, melting permafrost could have released methane underground, which exploded, creating the strange features. Siberia's largest gas field, Bovanenkovo, is located less than 20 miles from the site of the first crater, leading many observers to believe petroleum exploration is responsible for the funnels. Other people have proposed missile tests, a prank carried out by mischievous Russians, or even the crash of alien spacecraft.
"According to local residents, the hole formed on 27 September 2013. Observers give several versions. According to the first, initially at the place was smoking, and then there was a bright flash. In the second version, a celestial body fell there," Mikhail Lapsui, a member of the regional parliament, said.
Surrounding the funnels is dirt, apparently thrown outward from an explosion deep in the ground.
"The funnel is a perfectly formed cone, say locals who are mystified at how it was formed. Its depth is estimated at between [195 and 325 feet]," the Siberian Times reported.
Investigation of the inside of the first crater revealed a semi-frozen body of water at its bottom, lending credence to the theory that a methane explosion led to the creation of the funnel. Water and sample studies have been taken from the crater, and are being examined to uncover the reasons behind the creation of the geological features. This study could also reveal when the craters first formed, in one of the world's most remote regions.