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Russia is home to some very unusual mysteries. The Tunguska Event of of 1908 and the Dyatlov Pass Incident are probably two of the most famous; and both are stories I'll hopefully write about next year at some point. That said though, we’re here to talk about a significantly less malevolent mystery. One simply known as the Patomskiy Crater.
Our adventure takes place in the Irkutsk region of southeastern Siberia. The crater was discovered in 1949 by a Russian geologist by the name of Vadim Kolpakov while on an expedition; and it wouldn't be the last to examine the crater. However, the expeditions eventually stopped due to their cost.
As the star of this story, let's discuss the crater itself. It's big—very big. Its base diameter is 520 feet and it's 130 feet tall. Topping it off is a ring-shape with a smaller mound that stands 39 feet tall. The crater's volume is between. 8.1–8.8 million cubic feet and weighs an estimated one million tonnes. Topping it all off is that the crater is a mere 300–350 years old.
Although the Patomskiy Crater may not seem that mysterious on its own, it’s origin is unknown. This, to me personally, is confounding. Mostly because of its age. While Siberia is almost entirely wilderness and is far from the most desirable place to live, the sheer size of the crater must have been caused by something that would've been out on record, right? Well, no. If it had been, I'd been writing about Tunguska instead of this. However, there exist some theories as to the origin. So, let's go over them!
The first, and most obvious, is that the crater was made by a meteor; perhaps one that broke apart and all but one fragment made it. As will be the case with every theory there: there's no evidence to back this up. However, it's believed by some here that the meteor may have had an extreme density and thus sank underground.
And meteor-based theory is that it may have been a fragment of the Tunguska meteor that crashed away from the main impact site. Whether or not it's possible for the estimated age of a crater to be wrong, I don't know. Nor do I know how far this crater is from the Tunguska impact site.
A third theory is that it's the product of a volcano. What hinders this theory is that there's been no recorded volcanic activity in the area for centuries. This also applies to the theory that the crater was made by a pocket of gas that possibly erupted.
The final theory is the obligatory aliens. This theory has two variants and both have either been ridiculed or believed by those that read it.
The first is that an alien ship crashed and was obliterated; the remains having been recovered by the expedition crew less by Kolpakov in his initial and future visits to the crater.
The second theory is that the crater isn't a crater, but is rather the entrance to an alien lair that leads to some secret base beneath the surface. This theory likely leads into some NWO/Illuminati territory that I refuse to touch with a ten-foot pole, but whether or not the aliens are benevolent or malevolent depends on who you talk to
As stated before, none of these theories have been proven. With the exception of the Moscow Institute of Geosphere Dynamics—which believes the meteor theory—there’s no real unanimous belief.
That is, until recently-ish.
In 2010, a conference was held that declared the crater to be a natural geological formation; the aforementioned theories having been rejected. The process also included intensive introduction of deep gas flows of matter; thus leading to the transformation of the crater's silicate rocks. As a result of all of this, the crater was formed and is now of little importance scientifically, but holds historical importance.
While there are plenty that have come to accept that answer, some remain unconvinced. There are those that cling to the meteorite theory and others that believe that aliens will fly out and bring about Armageddon for reasons that make more sense if you don't think about it. Whichever theory you subscribe to is yours to decide. I, for one, wish to think that a Russian man and a bear got into a Dragon Ball Z-like fight.