The recent discovery of a trio of holes in Siberia has scientists puzzled, conspiracy theorists excited, and the rest of us taking a new look at the stability of the ground beneath our feet. The surface of the Earth is riddled with holes—some on land, some underwater, and some that act as a doorway to an entirely different world.
10. Siberia’s Holes
Three holes have recently been found in Siberia. The first, whose size has been estimated to be 50–100 meters (165–330 ft) across, has been found to have a lake at the bottom of it. The second hole, miles away from the first, is only about 15 meters (50 ft) wide. The third hole, accidentally found by reindeer herders, is a nearly perfect cone-shaped hole about 4 meters (13 ft) wide and 60–100 meters (195-330 ft) deep.
As indicated by the ring of debris and dirt around each hole, the massive holes were created by a force that came from inside the Earth and exploded outward, leading to some interesting theories. Some insist that it is related to the gas industry prevalent in the area, but the holes are so far away from gas lines that the idea was dismissed outright by scientists. Other theories include stray missiles, mischievous pranksters, and there is, of course, no shortage of theories about extraterrestrial involvement.
The real cause might be a little more terrestrial but no less strange. One of the working theories about the holes is that they’re a kind of reverse sinkhole that hasn’t even been scientifically documented yet. In these cases, it’s thought that instead of collapsing in on itself, the holes were initiated by an underground collapse caused by the melting of permafrost. The holes then filled with natural gas, and once the pressure became too great, dirt and debris erupted into the air rather than falling into the underground space.
According to some locals, the holes aren’t actually new, and scientists agree that the growth of vegetation around them indicates that they could have been there for at least a few years. The second hole discovered, located on a peninsula lovingly referred to as “the end of the world,” was allegedly observed by locals as early as September 2013. Eyewitness accounts differ, though, with some saying it was an explosion from the Earth and others claiming to have seen something falling from the sky.