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by Brooks Hays
Siberia Yamal, Russia (UPI) Jul 16, 2013
What's going on in Russia? Last year it was the sky falling with the Chelyabinsk meteor. Now it appears that the ground is opening up. Russians have discovered a mysterious hole in middle of Siberia -- a crater stretching some 260 feet across.
Outfit the hole with rings of teeth-like spikes and you'd think it was sarlacc from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Making matters more surreal, the area of Sibera where the massive hole was found is called Yamal, which translates to "the end of the world."
The strange hole in the ground was captured on video and posted to YouTube, inspiring wild explanations for the crater. Russian scientists are apparently on their way to scope things out -- with hopes that a more reasonable (and scientific) explanation will quell some of the more outlandish theories, like the one claiming the hole is an alien landing pad.
Already, officials have denied that a meteorite is to blame for the crater.
Anna Kurchatova, a researcher at the Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Center, told the Siberian Times the giant whole was likely blown out by an explosion of gas trapped in the melting permafrost below. She likened the phenomenon to a popping of a Champagne bottle cork -- the champagne bottle was 260 feet wide and filled with sandy, icy gas.
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