A giant crater with a hole at its center has literally appeared out of nowhere in Siberia.
The hole, about 262 feet in diameter, was discovered in the Yamal Peninsula, the location of the gas fields used by Russian gas company Gazprom.
So far, scientists believe it was formed by an explosion of ice caused by global warming.
New South Wales polar scientist Chris Fogwill called it “a collapsed pingo,” in reference to a block of ice that has grown into a small hill underground.
The melting ice is said to have resulted in a mixture of gas, salt and water, which then exploded.
This theory is supported by burn marks on the sides of the hole, less than 20 miles from Yamal’s biggest gas field.
Water and salt lie underneath the fields because the area was actually a body of water some 10,000 years ago.
Dr. Fogwill said,
We’re seeing much more activity in permafrost areas than we’ve seen in the historical past. A lot of this relates to this high degree of warming around these high arctic areas which are experiencing some of the highest rates of warming on earth.
The depth of the hole remains unknown.
A team of Russian scientists from the Center for the Study of the Arctic and the Cryosphere Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences will take samples of soil, air and water from the site and most likely confirm the surrounding theory.