A 262ft crater wide has opened up in a remote region of Siberia.
The mysterious hole appeared in a mountainous area of the far north in Yamal – a name meaning “end of the world”.
It was filmed from a passing helicopter by engineer Konstantin Nikolaev.
The Siberian Times reports a team of scientists from the Centre for the Study of the Arctic and the Cryosphere Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences have been dispatched to the area where they will sample the conditions to determine the nature of the hole.
But the newspaper quotes a spokesman from the Emergencies Ministry as ruling that out: “We can definitely say that it is not a meteorite. No details yet.”
One Russian expert has suggested the crater is the result of a natural gas chamber heating up and then exploding.
Meanwhile Australian polar scientist Dr Chris Fogwill says the hole is likely to be a geological phenomenon called a pingo.
He told the Sydney Morning Herald: “Certainly from the images I’ve seen it looks like a periglacial feature, perhaps a collapsed pingo.”
According to the National Geographic, a pingo, or a ice-cored mound is a permafrost landform created as water freezes beneath the ground’s surface and forms ice masses that force the frozen ground layers upward.
We await the official verdict with bated breath...