Scientists have discovered a mysterious giant hole that has appeared in one of Russia's most isolated northernmost regions, state television reported.
A preliminary study on Thursday determined that the gaping crater, about 100 meters in diameter, was created by a natural event — but not a meteorite impact.
There were no signs that the hole was artificially made, and the radiation level at the site was not dangerous, a team of scientists from Siberia's Institute of the Earth Cryosphere said in a press release quoted by Russian media.
Speculation has swirled about how the hole could have been created — including theories of an unknown meteorite or even alien beings — after a video of the mysterious site went viral on YouTube last week.
The hole is located in the vast region of Yamal, which means "the end of the Earth" in the local Nenets language. Straddling the Arctic Circle, the region is a place where temperatures plummet to negative 50 degrees Celsius and the sun barely rises in winter.
Inhabited by indigenous reindeer herders, Yamal is one of Russia's richest regions in natural gas. The hole was found near the Bovanentsky gas field, leading to speculation that it could have been caused by an underground explosion.
TV Zvezda, broadcast by the Defense Ministry, reported that the person who shot the video said the hole appeared to have been caused from below and that the darker soil around its top indicated the effect of high temperatures.
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