Yet another giant mystery sinkhole has appeared in Siberia close to one of the world’s largest potassium salt mines.
The gaping chasm measures a whopping 100ft across and appeared after the nearby Solikamsk-2 mine was flooded. It is not the first time a sinkhole has opened up in the region, similar huge holes have appeared in the Yamal – or ‘end of the world’.
Locals have claimed to have seen missiles and even falling angels near the sinkholes.
Thousands of mine employees have since been told to keep away as geologists urgently look into why it happened.
One theory is that a 20-year-old earthquake weakened the structure of the bedrock surrounding the mine making it unstable.
Nobody living in the nearby town of Solikamsk was injured and experts have assured families that their homes are safe.
But the unexpected crater has caused mass panic in the town and many residents are reported to be rushing to sell their homes.
One local resident said: “People have not slept for three days, waiting for new holes.”
Another added: “The homes were empty when it happened, which was lucky. The nearest houses where people are living are two kilometres away.”
The future of the mine, owned by the world’s number one potash producer, is still unclear.
It’s believed to have reserves of around 150 million tons of potash but if the surrounding rock is too unstable the mine could be lost forever.
The cause of the sinkhole is said to be different to those that appeared in more northern regions earlier this year.
Typically, Siberian craters occur in permafrost regions as melting frozen soils release trapped gases, causing blowouts and giant craters.