Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Patomskiy Crater, a Real Earth Mystery

with 4 comments

patomsky

Well, there it is. Patomsky Crater. A 40m high crater in remote Siberia. Discovered in 1949 by a geologist named Vadim Kolpakov. Well, discovered by the outside world, the locals had known of it. It was made sometime in the past few centuries. How was it made? That’s the mystery. Geologists have been studying it for decades, and they still don’t know. Yes, scientists don’t know how this pile of rock was made. I’d say it was like a crop circle made of stones, but scientists know how crop circles are made.

What could it be? At first it was thought maybe it was something that Stalin had made by gulag labour. It’s certainly possible, he had some odd things done.  However, geologists visiting the site ruled that out, it is clearly a natural formation. One possibility was that maybe it was some sort of explosion caused by uranium ore going critical. Something similar happened in Gabon, Africa, some 1.3 billion years ago. Alas, no Uranium or radioactivity has been found, so that idea was ruled out. Impact? Well, some scientists still think so. In fact for awhile it was thought it might be related to the Tunguska impact of 1908. Alas, no meteoric material has been found. And its date has been pinned down to about 250 years ago, long before the Tunguska event.

So, volcano? Well, there’s no volcanic rock in the region. The crater itself is made of limestone, hardly a volcanic materiel. There’s no volcanoes or extinct volcanoes in the region. And it doesn’t resemble any known volcanic crater. Still, most geologists think it must be some sort of eruptive process. Some geologic process heated ground water causing one or more phreatic eruptions. Research continues.

The significance of this discovery? It’s interesting on several levels. The first thing is that it is an example of the limits of science. Lay people, especially fundamentalist religious types, often seem to be under the impression that scientists know everything. No, they don’t. In fact it’s safe to say that what scientists don’t know is vastly, maybe infinitely, greater than what they do know. Every new scientific discovery expands the boundaries of what we know … and expands the boundaries of what we don’t know. It’s certain religions that claim to understand everything, most scientists long ago got over that conceit.

Anything else? Well, the woo woo crowd has weighed in. Some have claimed that Patomskiy Crater is a crashed UFO. Some reports claim that a cylindrical object has been identified buried in the crater. I’m pretty sure if Russian geologists had actually identified some mysterious object was buried in the crater, it would have been excavated promptly. Still, it’s not a big topic in the woo woo crowd. Which in and of itself says something. they aren’t really interested in mysteries, only mysteries that can be easily folded into their pseudoscience view of the world.

Yes, I’ve become more intolerant of science deniers. The religious ones are worse, because they are destroying the political process in the USA. That’s a story for another post. The woo woo ones, well, they aren’t helping. Because science doesn’t yet doesn’t have an answer for something, UFOs aren’t the default. Or angels. It’s the beauty and wonder of the world, science has discovered that there is no need for supernatural explanations, and right now UFOs are as supernatural as angels and demons.

So, what created Patomskiy Crater? I’ll certainly go with the scientific consensus. Some sort of as yet unexplained geologic process. Still, the exotic impact theory hasn’t yet been ruled out. Exotic as being an impact of something other than the typical stone or ion meteorite. Something much denser than either. The universe is stranger than we can imagine, Patomskiy Crater is proof of that.

And the most wonderful thing about science, when it does explain Patomskiy Crater, it will make our understanding of the world a little bit bigger. We will not understand everything, but the more we understand, the safer we are. Our campfire in the dark gets a little brighter.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the case. I don’t know who the copyright holder is. And lastly, a joke. Some claim that the Tunguska event was caused by Nikola Tesla. Enjoy.)

Written by unitedcats

May 28, 2014 at 11:36 pm

Posted in History, Science, World

4 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. It looks like a water shot out from the ground.

    http://www.witnessthefitness.heatgymnasium.com

    HD Hizo Trung

    May 31, 2014 at 1:58 am

  2. It’s certainly a very interesting phenomenon.
    My first guess was omething along the lines of a (kimberlite or lamproite) diatreme. But ths woudn’t be associated with limestones. OTOH, it is common for kimberlites to contain a lot of carbonate minerals (being largely driven, we think, by CO2 from the mantle).
    I’ve asked around amongst my fellow geologists to see what anyone else knows.
    The wombats of woo are certainly sniffing around this one, but they don’t have a good story either. It’s well weird.

    gravelinspector-Aidan

    July 18, 2014 at 4:57 am

  3. Maybe a meteorite has crushed on that patomskiy million years ago… and maybe the sfera at the center of that creater is the meteorite rock.

    Unknown

    December 22, 2014 at 5:15 pm

  4. The formation process I was trying to put a name to last time was by analogy with a “scoria cone”, a well known feature of volcanic landscapes. This image shows an example with an associated lava flow, which partly buries an adjacent hillside. The Patomskiy Crater appears to be on less level ground, with a less pronounced summit crater, but otherwise the resemblences are strong. This image shows the internal structure (I actually spent an afternoon mapping a partly dissected on on Tenerife in 2011 ; the diagram is not speculative.)
    Cinder or scoria cones are well known from volcanic regions, but anything else that can generate debris lofted by escaping gases can have the same effect. What the source of gases was (or even possibly liquid – water?) I don’t know. But there are several credible possibilities.

    gravelinspector-Aidan

    December 24, 2014 at 8:43 am


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: