Reindeer herders have stumbled across two more giant holes in the ground in northern Russia just two weeks after discovering the first at the “end of the world” in Siberia, local newspapers have claimed.
The Siberian Times has reported the discovery after the first 80metre-wide hole was spotted 1,800 miles east of Moscow in a barren permafrost stretch of Yamal, an area that translates as "the end of the world".
Researchers dispatched to investigate the first formation have taken soil and water samples to determine when the hole was formed. Yamal holds some of Russia’s largest gas reserves and the crater appeared less than 20 miles from the biggest gas field, Bovanenkovo.
One of the new craters has a diameter of about 15 metres and was found close to the first in the Taz district, near the village of Antipayuta.
Mikhail Lapsui, a deputy of the regional parliament, said local residents in the area first became aware of the new opening in September 2013.
He told the newspaper: “I flew by helicopter to inspect this funnel on Saturday 19 July. Its diameter is about 15 metres. There is also ground outside, as if it was thrown as a result of an underground explosion.”
Possible theories for the formation of the holes are ranging from an underground explosion of gas and global warming, to the somewhat less helpful suggestions of alien activity in the area.
The other crater is reported to be four metres wide and was discovered by herders hundreds of miles away in the Taymyr Peninsula, to the east of Yamal, in Kransoyark region.
Scientist Marina Leibman told URA.RU: "I have heard about the second funnel on Yamal, in Taz district, and saw the pictures.
"Undoubtedly, we need to study all such formations. It is necessary to be able to predict their occurrence. Each new funnel provides additional information for scientists."