Accessibility links

A Journey Into A Mysterious Siberian Crater

Three massive craters were discovered this summer on the Yamal Peninsula in northern Siberia. In an effort to understand the origins of the newly formed craters, a group of scientists descended into one of the holes, reaching a frozen lake at the bottom. Their initial investigation suggests that the crater was formed not by a meteorite impact but by an explosion of underground gas hydrates. The research team led by Vladimir Pushkarev, director of the Russian Center of Arctic Exploration, believes the sudden appearance of the chasms does not present any danger.

Scientists prepare to descend into the largest of the three craters on the Yamal peninsula.
1

Scientists prepare to descend into the largest of the three craters on the Yamal peninsula.

A scientist rappels down the side of the crater to reach a frozen lake at the bottom. The expedition took place in winter because the freezing temperatures had stabilized the structure.
2

A scientist rappels down the side of the crater to reach a frozen lake at the bottom. The expedition took place in winter because the freezing temperatures had stabilized the structure.

Researchers took measurements and samples from the crater. Initial research suggests that the crater was formed by melting gas hydrates, icelike substances below the surface of the Earth.
3

Researchers took measurements and samples from the crater. Initial research suggests that the crater was formed by melting gas hydrates, icelike substances below the surface of the Earth.

Scientists stand on the frozen lake at the bottom of the crater.
4

Scientists stand on the frozen lake at the bottom of the crater.

The team collected samples of ice and rock.
5

The team collected samples of ice and rock.

The view from the bottom
6

The view from the bottom

A researcher rappels down a frozen wall.
7

A researcher rappels down a frozen wall.

8
XS
SM
MD
LG