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Sink Holes Pop Open at 'End of the World' August 1, 2014
Satellite Image
One of the sinkholes in Russia's Yamal peninsula.
Three large and mysterious holes have appeared in and around Siberia's Yamal region, leaving some officials and geologists scratching their heads over what caused them.

The formations, in a remote region that locals call the “end of the world,” appear to be so deep that it is difficult to see the bottoms.

Debris is piled up around the rim of each hole, indicating the ground “popped” open.

Some geologists say the holes, which are as large as 130 feet in diameter, are the results of underground ice melting in the permafrost because of recent climate change, releasing gas that built up pressure so high that it broke through to the surface.

“At some point an explosion took place without any flame,” said Vasily Bogoyavlensky, deputy director of the Oil and Gas Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Photo: Marya Zulinova via Siberian Times