YEKATERINBURG, October 5. /TASS/. News organisations in Europe and the United States have been focussing interest on a giant crater discovered in the permafrost of western Siberia's Yamal peninsula, an official in the region told TASS.
Media fascination has fired since the mysterious phenomenon featured in a trailer for the forthcoming X-Men: Apocalypse blockbuster, said Russian Arctic development centre head Vladimir Pushkarev, noting the crater's power to generate news stories.
The mysterious hole, some 60 metres in diameter and at least 200 metres deep, was first spotted by Russian helicopter pilots in July 2014. Explanations of the crater's origin range from meteorites to alien life.
Images taken by the pilots found its way into dramatic footage promoting the latest X-Men adventure film, set for release in the spring of 2016.
"We were surprised to see the footage being used," an amused Pushkarev said. "We're suggesting that Hollywood filmmakers come to Yamal and shoot an X-Men episode in the vicinity of the crater," he said. "No 3D graphics can replace real sight of Yamal’s ‘black hole'", he added.
Russian Academician Valery Melnikov says the crater, currently flooded with water, has appeared due to climate change and subsequent release of sub-surface gas trapped in the permafrost.