A giant sinkhole has appeared in Siberia's Novokuznetsk region recently, some 3 500 km from other craters found in Arctic Russia in recent months. The new crater measures around 20 meters in diameter and around 25 to 30 meters in depth.
The Siberian Times reports:
Initial theories suggest mining subsidence caused the collapse, but locals remain concerned about methane gas in the disused shafts. They have been told to avoid fires amid concern over methane leaks.
The hole was spotted by Rinat Sharifullin, whose house is 100 metres away. He immediately called to the Emergency Ministry. The gaping crevice was fenced and specialists have now filled it using soil from an adjacent hill.
Despite this, the crater is causing concern among locals.
Rinat's wife Natalia said: 'We need to move from here. Under our garden are mines, too, and the site nearby was once the entrance to a mine. In the 1990s it was closed and the ground was filled in.'
Emergency Ministry staff arrived at the site, fenced off the crater and filled it with earth. Experts are now investigating to find out whether it was indeed caused by an old mine shaft collapse and if there are more holes to come.
Another smaller hole is nearby which was filled with water.
The news comes just a few weeks after a very large and spectacular earthflow took place on the road between Novokuznetsk and Bolshaya Talda, about 280 km ESE of Novosibirsk, Russia:
Dave Petley, author of The Landslide Blog, said that whilst it is difficult to be certain, the most likely location of this landslide appears to be at about 54.144, 87.098 (large coal mine area). "This site has all of the correct characteristics, including the appearance of the topography, the presence of the high voltage cables and the structure of the road."
Featured image credit: Gorod Novostei