back to article MYSTERIOUS Siberia CRATER: ALIENS or METEOR not involved, officials insist

A huge, enigmatic crater which has suddenly appeared in a remote region of Siberia was definitely not caused by an unidentified object falling from space, the Russian authorities insist. The mysterious crater seen from a passing helicopter. Credit: Konstantin Nikolaev "We can definitely say that it is not a meteorite. No …

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  1. WibbleMe

    Its a cover-up they have been breeding giant gofers

    1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Giant Gofers

      Mole Men!

      Looks suspiciously like a sink hole. What could the government possibly be hiding down there? Dirt? Water? An underground civilization? (˙ǝuo ʇsɐl ǝɥʇ ʇoN :∀)

      1. John Riddoch

        Re: Giant Gofers

        Sinkhole was my first thought, but that doesn't account for the debris round the hole. The idea of some trapped gas underground exploding makes more sense, it would explain the debris round the hole and its depth.

        Certainly it doesn't look like a normal impact crater, it's too deep for that.

        1. Marshalltown

          Re: Giant Gofers

          Many, many moons ago folks thought that the bones of mammoth were the remains of giant burrowing animals. Apparently that was the rationale for why all mammoth bones were found in burial contexts.

        2. itzman

          Re: Giant Gofers

          Looks to me like what you get when a supersonic bomb impacts but does not detonate. I.e. a pure vertical impact crater ..

          1. cordwainer 1

            Re: Giant Gofers

            Alien Whack-A-Mole? Waiting for the next hole to appear....

          2. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

            Re: Giant Gofers

            That was my first thought as well (hypersonic penetrator) and haven't seen anything yet to differ. The bottom profile is what's need now.

            [Maybe a "Get Real" postcard from Obama to Putin, only called to his attention recently now that it's required?]

            1. mrjobby
              Paris Hilton

              Re: Giant Gofers

              "hypersonic penetrator" - fnarr!

          3. John X Public
            Mushroom

            Re: Giant Gofers

            " I.e. a pure vertical impact crater "

            Ooo, sub-orbital kinetic weapons, my favorite. After moonbase railguns.

        3. Otto is a bear.

          Re: Giant Gofers

          Doesn't look as it it were that powerful an explosion either, the ejecta doesn't seem to have strayed to far from the hole, though not a good photograph to tell. It's much too vertical for an impact crater, so venting gas is the most logical explanation.

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Its a cover-up they have been breeding giant gofers

      I briefly mis-read that as giant golfers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Its a cover-up they have been breeding giant gofers

        I briefly mis-read that as giant golfers."

        Maybe some mad Russian scientist is a fan of Caddyshack.

        1. Scott 1
          Coat

          Giant golfer? Not likely.

          A giant golfer's divot would probably result in a shallower depression with a soil/debris spread generally in only one direction.

          Now, they may have been creating a hole for a game of giant *golf*, but that wouldn't necessarily involve giant golfers.

          1. zen1

            Re: Giant golfer? Not likely.

            Scott,

            You've never seen me golf... Put me in the rough and I can have a have a mini strip mine in a matter of a few minutes. They should have named that game "damn it" instead of golf

            1. AndrueC Silver badge
              Unhappy

              Re: Giant golfer? Not likely.

              You've never seen me golf

              You, I might have seen. My ball in the rough on the other hand..natch. I play either bright yellow or bright orange and still the buggers can vanish without trace barely an inch off the fairway.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ah Caddyshack

        - I want you to kill every gopher on the course!

        - Correct me if I am wrong sir, but if I kill all the golfers, they are going to lock me up and throw away the key!

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. poopypants

    It's obvious

    Gaia squeezed a pimple.

  3. Spotfist

    I would check for Mynock's before going inside.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Do you mean Morlocks?

      1. Tom 13

        Too be on the safe side, check for both. And er, molemen too.

        1. cordwainer 1

          Mynocks, Morlocks and Molemen...

          would be a great song title

      2. Spotfist

        Now you're just being silly! Morlocks are a fictional made up creature

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morlock

        Whereas Mynoks are real.

        http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Mynock

        1. Eltonga
          Childcatcher

          Gentlemen, check your references please.

          We are discussing what seems to be a Sarlacc.

          http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Sarlacc

          Shame on you for spreading fake knowledge around!!!

  4. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    To the Russian Death Crash Videos

    They hold the truth (As well as tonnes of crashes).

    Of course other Crash related videos are available on the internet.

  5. myhandler

    Um - nothing to say or show how big it actually is?

    10 metres wide ? 100?

    Needs a yak herder peering in to give scale.

    1. Julz

      These a fair amount of data here:

      http://siberiantimes.com/science/casestudy/news/first-pictures-from-inside-the-crater-at-the-end-of-the-world/

      Reminds me of an Edward De Bono lateral thought problem. My first stab would be a plug of ice forced up through the soil; possibly by gas pressure.

      p.s. If you look at the the final video you can see a number of small circular lakes as the helicopter comes to land which could be holes like this one but eroded and filled with water over a period of time.

    2. Marshalltown
      Devil

      Size

      The pilot and passenger who originally found it estimated a diameter of 870 meters. As to cause, were I to speculate I would suggest pressurized methane beneath permafrost, with failure when pressure exceeded the strength of the permafrost. You can pick either melting permafrost or increasing methane and keep both sides of the GW debate happy.

      1. Anonymaus Cowark

        Re: Size

        A burst methan bubble was my first thought as well.

        but I could only imagine this as a result of the global warming ...

  6. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge
    Pint

    It doesn't take a rocket scientist...

    ... to conclude that it is really an alien spacecraft crash site.

    Or, it really takes not a rocket scientist to conclude that this is an alien spacecraft crash site.

    Same words, slightly different order, take your pick!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It doesn't take a rocket scientist...

      It wasn't a crash. Tunguska was the crash as they arrived. This was a take-off as they departed from their underground base.

      1. Martin Budden
        Alien

        Re: It doesn't take a rocket scientist...

        It looks like something of alien origin burst out of the ground. What we need to do next is search the opposite side of the planet for the entry wound.

        It was either this icon or Joke Alert, take your pick.

  7. pigor

    Shai-Hulud of the tundra?

    1. Munchausen's proxy
      Pint

      Shai-Hulud of the tundra?

      I was going to go with Sarlacc, but I like yours better. Now I have a vision of an internet meme of Putin riding the sandworm.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Shai-Hulud of the tundra?

        JIHAD!!!!

      2. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Shai-Hulud of the tundra?

        Thanks a lot. Now I'm stuck with the image of a bare-chested Vladimir Putin riding a sandworm across the muskeg.

        Well, it gives me an excuse to head off to the local watering hole to drown those pesky neurons.

  8. Trollslayer Silver badge
    Devil

    Aliens?

    They have better sense than bother with the kind of people who think aliens would bother.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Aliens?

      We have nothing to hide from Aliens, therefore nothing to fear..right?

  9. Perpetual Cyclist

    A bit of a clue - it is less than 20 miles from a major gas drilling site. I don't know if they employ fracking. If you look at a wider view of the site, for example on google earth, it looks like a moonscape of cratered permafrost.

    Explosive release of methane expelled from methane hydrates or melting permafrost, as a result of high summer temperatures. Possibly, build-up of gas seeping from lower level gas deposits trapped under the surface layer of permafrost, erupting like a gas geyser.

    Consistent with, but not proof of, global climate change.

    1. envmod

      you're very obviously one of them.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Alien

        envmod? Mister David Vincent, I presume?

        "On peut vous aider?"

    2. Don Jefe

      This big fucking hole is consistent with a big fucking hole. That much is certain. Beyond that it's consistent with a lot of things.

      A big hole like this is consistent with, but not proof of, the Ninth Seal of Y'Gloth being washed in the menstrual blood of a virgin Laplander born under a Sulphur Moon as the final element in awakening Cthulhu, Lord of Silence, to rend in twain the Angelic Gates imprisoning Leviathan and begin the March of 'The Not'.

      The big hole is certainly interesting, but you're melding a number of issues together and causing you unnecessary concern, and leading your thoughts in the wrong direction. Regardless of your beliefs/feelings/happy ignorance, you're doing yourself, and others, a disservice with crazy talk. There are a lot of questions and concerns about fracking, there's no doubt. As it stands right now I have declined to lease my property in Western Pennsylvania because as an Engineer I'm not satisfied with the information that's presently available. I'm not saying anything beyond I want to know more. It's far too early for anyone to have valid information regarding the mega-fracking projects. This is a time for watching, not acting.

      But when you pop off with factually limited commentary like that you're giving the 'other side' ammunition; that's pretty dumb. You can't draw corollaries between the pockmarked surface and the Big Hole. The not Big Hole and other undulations in the permafrost are a natural function of permafrost. It looks solid and it feels solid (and cold) but it's actually a very delicate thing that a few research projects I'm aware of are studying permafrost as a model in chaotic numbers theories.

      Permafrost is kind of like a box packing peanuts. It fills a void, but is not very dense. Permafrost is a lattice work of solids like rocks and dirt with the spaces in between filled with ice. Natural disturbances in the Earth (tectonic movements for example) don't have to be strong enough to move the solids in the lattice, just disturb the ice enough to allow some solids to move. Gravity, being impervious to the cold, still works though, so the solids drop onto solids below and that chain reaction occurs until the solids encounter a space where the lattice can support the new solids.

      Less common, but extra cool, is ice 'lensing' where, for example, a rock on the surface is heated sufficiently by the Sun to partially melt the snow and ice it is resting on (it really doesn't take much) and a sudden temperature drop (very common) 'flash freezes' the melted snow/ice. It can create a surprisingly clear lens that let's sunlight beneath the surface of the snow/ice. The resultant heat is then trapped in a very well insulated place thus being much more efficient at melting the ice above, and below. My previous paragraph deals with how the liberated solids behave.*

      Incidentally, risks of melting the ice in the permafrost lattice is why buildings down in the Tundra and Steppe are built on stilts and, in big structures, air is pumped out from the underside of the buildings. The air trapped beneath an insulated building is more than sufficient to change an above grade building into a below grade bunker very quickly.

      If you're interested in something neat, check out the heat pipes that support the Alyeska Pipeline in Alaska. There's something like 125,000 of those posts that support the pipeline. They transfer ground heat into the air to prevent it from destabilizing the permafrost and causing the pipeline to collapse. It's really cool.

      Anyway, my point wasn't to be a dick (hope I didn't come off as one). I just thought it was important you knew that disturbances in permafrost are common, varied, and sometimes (like with the Big Hole) really bizarre. Jumping straight to a commercial culprit (any culprit beyond 'nature' really) without understanding other naturally occurring possibilities first isn't ever going to result in factual answers (factual being, I assume, what you prefer).

      *That lensing effect I mentioned earlier is a very, very cool thing. When we still had a field office in Dead Horse, Alaska the phenomenon would sometimes occur when exhaust from a piece of equipment left idling would partially thaw the ice and would instantly freeze again when the equipment was moved. It sometimes created a startlingly clear window through the ice. Sometimes even far enough down to see the road we drove on in the summer. Very cool.

      1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

        Pfft! Facts!

        You can prove anything with facts!

        I find your lack of faith in the competence of national governments to maintain alien conspiracies for generations... well, not really all that disturbing, now that I think of it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Consistent with, but not proof of, global climate change."

      Strange thing to say when AGW has been proved beyond credible scientific doubt to be happening for well over a decade now.

  10. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Happy

    It's the lair of the white worm

    Send in the boy scouts!

    For the younger readers this film contains one of the funniest sex scenes ever filmed.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095488/?ref_=nv_sr_1

    1. skeptical i
      Devil

      Welcome to my underground lair.

      The Pacific volcano lair is being remodeled with upgraded shark tanks and other evil accoutrements, so we relocated to the Siberian summer lair for the duration.

    2. cortland

      Re: It's the lair of the white worm

      Sex scene? Oh, WHERE's Dabbs when you need him?

  11. earl grey Silver badge
    Joke

    reminds me

    Of a movie i just watched.

  12. Jefe Mixtli

    Pingo!!

    What they are almost certainly seeing is a melted PINGO. In areas of permafrost (like most of Canada) the ice underground can form hills up to a 1000ft high. They are basically a big chunk of ice covered in soil.

    If the temperature in the are warms enough, the ice melt and you end up with a crater full of water. You can see an almost identical feature here:

    http://icecubicle.net/2010/03/24/phenom-pingos-of-the-far-north/

    http://icecubicle.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/pingo-ice-lens-shattered.jpg

    1. Nigel 11
      Coat

      Re: Pingo!!

      a melted PINGO

      that'll be a pingone, then.

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