you’ve heard of the crater on the Yamal Peninsula. It’s the one that suddenly appeared, yawning nearly 100 feet in diameter, and made several rounds in the global viral media machine. The adjectives most often used to describe it: giant, mysterious, curious. Scientists were subsequently “baffled.” Locals were “mystified.” There were whispers that aliens were responsible. Nearby residents peddled theories of “bright flashes” and “celestial bodies.”
There’s now a substantiated theory about what created the crater. And the news isn’t so good.
It may be methane gas, released by the thawing of frozen ground. According to a recent Nature article, “air near the bottom of the crater contained unusually high concentrations of methane — up to 9.6% — in tests conducted at the site on 16 July, says Andrei Plekhanov, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/08/05/scientists-may-have-cracked-the-giant-siberian-crater-mystery-and-the-news-isnt-good/