That mysterious crater deep in Siberia will soon be a bit less mysterious; a team of scientists just completed their first survey of the giant hole in northern Yamal — Siberian for "the end of the world." Conspiracy theorists who thought bombs or UFOs might be involved will be disappointed to hear the team's initial judgment: "There is nothing mysterious here," said Andrey Plekhanov, one of the researchers, speaking with the Siberian Times. "It is simply Mother Nature's law with its internal pressure and changes in temperatures."
The hole is closer to 100 feet across than the early reports of 250 or 300 feet, though it appears to reach that in depth. The researchers think it may be part of the natural processes that created the many lakes in the Yamal area. There are several theories as to the actual process of formation, of which the most credible may be that a pocket of natural gas (plentiful in Yamal) combined with water, salt and rising temperatures to burst with enough force to splash debris dozens of feet in all directions. Research and exploration is ongoing, however, so more complete reports should be available soon.
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— Devin Coldewey, NBC News
First published July 18 2014, 3:46 PM