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Earth News Science

Giant Crater Appears In Northern Siberia 122

New submitter DavidMZ writes: The Siberian Times reports on a large crater of unknown origin that has appeared in the Yamal Peninsula in northern Siberia. The Russian government has dispatched a group of scientists to investigate the 80-meter-wide crater. Anna Kurchatova from Siberia's Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Center believes the crater was a result of an explosion when a mixture of water, salt, and natural gas exploded underground. The Yamai Peninsula is known to hold Russia's biggest natural gas reserve."

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Giant Crater Appears In Northern Siberia

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  • by Justpin ( 2974855 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @03:58PM (#47469745)
    Derweze they found large gas deposits, a crane collapsed on-site and caused a rush of natural gas to the surface. USSR scientists thought it was best to burn it to reduce the environmental impact. That was in 1971, it is still burning.
  • Some thoughts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mbone ( 558574 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @04:18PM (#47469915)

    First, if this is 80 meters in diameter, or 40 meters in radius, and say at a minimum 40 meters deep, that’ s not quite 10^9 kg of soil moved up order 40 meters, requiring (very roughly) the equivalent of 60 tons of TNT, at a minimum, and thus an equivalent magnitude of ~ 3.2 (again, roughly). Such an explosion should be detectable on seismological networks, such as the ones looking for nuclear testing.

    Second, there is another mystery crater in Siberia - the Patomskiy crater [siberiantimes.com]. This one is in rock, not sediment, is about 160 meters in diameter, and is maybe 300 years old, but I have to wonder if they have a similar cause.

    Third, I am interested in quark nuggets and other types of condensed matter, such as Q-Balls, generically called Compact UltraDense Objects [uj.edu.pl] (CUDOs) by Jan Rafelski of U. Arizona. If these things exist in the appropriate masses, they could cause holes such as this and the Patomskiy crater. Even better, if this were to be caused by transiting CUDO, it would cause a "linear earthquake [arxiv.org], which should be easily recognizable in the seismic record.

  • Re:Some thoughts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mbone ( 558574 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @04:49PM (#47470175)

    Patomskiy Crater is in solid rock, this new one is in soft sediment. Solid rock requires energy to fracture, and it is thus less likely to be removed from an excavation. By the way, these sorts of holes (assuming that they are explosive in origin) are similar to "bench-blasting" in explosives work; there is a huge literature on this.

  • by gaiageek ( 1070870 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @07:04PM (#47471211) Homepage
    Informative, and I wish I had mod points to mod this up. Relevant article here: http://www.news.cornell.edu/st... [cornell.edu]

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