Giant crater in Russia’s far north sparks mystery

MOSCOW, July 26, 2014 (AFP) – A vast crater discovered in a remote region of Siberia known to locals as “the end of the world” is causing a sensation in Russia, with a group of scientists being sent to investigate.

The giant hole in the remote energy-rich Yamalo-Nenetsky region first came to light in a video uploaded to YouTube that has since been viewed more than seven million times.

“The crater is enormous in size — you could fly down into it in several Mi-8s (helicopters) without being afraid of hitting anything,” the person who posted the video, named only as Bulka, wrote.

The video can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kMs05VaOfE.

The crater is located in the permafrost around 30 kilometres (18 miles) from a huge gas field north of the regional capital of Salekhard, roughly 2,000 kilometres northeast of Moscow.

The appearance of the mysterious chasm prompted numerous conspiracy theories and speculation that it may have been caused by something otherworldly, with some even suggesting aliens might be behind it.

Initial theories suggesting the crater was caused by a meteorite, however, were dismissed by scientists.

“This does not stand up to any criticism,” the deputy dir