The Yamal Peninsula's terrain looks otherworldly from a bird's eye view--or an alien's eye view.     Photo: Wikimedia/Google CC

Colossal Mystery Crater Appears in Russia

Has scientists saying, "What on (or off) earth?" as theories surface

A massive crater has appeared on Russia's remote Yamal Peninsula, and scientists have no idea where it came from.

According to the Telegraph, helicopter pilots discovered the crater while flying above barren tundra and documented the hole—which appears to be about 260 feet wide—on YouTube.

The crater is big enough to have earned the nickname "the hole at the end of the world." Freshly upturned soil around the rim indicates its recent creation, but no one knows exactly how it was formed.

Initial assumptions that a meteor strike caused the crater have been dismissed, as a meteor crash large enough to create this hole would have been noticed by locals or detected by radar. Suggestions of an underground gas explosion seem the most believable, considering similar naturally occurring phenomena in the recent past.

When gas deposits, salt, and ice accumulate, natural explosions just happen. But until scientists can test the site, all we can do is speculate. "It will take an initial analysis of water, soil, air," said a representative of the Research Center of the Arctic in an Interfax Ural story. "They will look at what it is—actually."

Because in this day and age, anything on YouTube could be a hoax.