TECH
24/02/2015 11:21 GMT | Updated 24/02/2015 11:59 GMT

Four New 'Mystery' Craters Discovered In Siberia

Vladimir Pushkarev/The Siberian Times

The mystery of inexplicable craters opening up in Siberia has deepened after scientists found four more enormous holes using satellite technology.

Four new craters were found in the Yamal Peninsula in northern Siberia. The team behind the discoveries now believe ‘dozens’ more craters might be found in the region — as many as 30 — and yet they are still unsure what could be causing them to emerge.

"I am sure that there are more craters on Yamal, we just need to search for them... I suppose there could be 20 to 30 craters more," Prof. Vasily Bogoyavlensky, who is deputy director of the Moscow-based Oil and Gas Research Institute, in an interview with The Siberian Times. "It is important not to scare people, but to understand that it is a very serious problem and we must research this."

It is suspected that the holes might be caused by gas explosions, triggered either by rising air temperatures (making the holes a terrifyingly and literally explosive side effect of climate change) or another source of heat underground.

Scientists in the US told HuffingtonPost.com that scientists should continue to research the phenomenon.

Dr. Carolyn Ruppel, a research geophysicist at the Woods Hole Field Center in Massachusetts, said:

"The processes that are causing them to form likely occur over a wide area of the continuous permafrost in this part of Siberia," she said in the email. "Scientists should definitely conduct more research on these features to determine the processes that cause their formation, how they evolve with time, and whether it is possible to predict where new ones will occur."