Russian army probes ‘collapsed mountain’ amid claims it was caused by UFO
The Russian army has been sent in to investigate a collapsed mountain in Siberia amid claims a meteorite or UFO caused the massive rockfall.
A massive 525ft high mound is now substantially blocking the Bureya River, threatening remote villages with flooding.
So much rock shifted that it would fill 13,600 Olympic-sized swimming pools, according to reports.
The Russian army has been dispatched to the scene to determine the cause of the rockfall.
The military is being tasked with ‘moving the mountain’ using explosives and equipment to allow the water to flow again.
But experts say nearby rock is fractured and a second gargantuan landslide is not ruled out.
A defence ministry source said a group of specialists is en route "to conduct reconnaissance work" at the site where the rocks fell some 1,280 ft onto the valley floor.
“Given the significant size of the landslide, units of engineers and railway forces with special equipment, as well as army and transport aviation, will be involved in clearing the rock.”
Plans have been made to evacuate 400 people from Chekunda, Ust-Urgal and Elga villages.
Flooding could also disrupt the major Baikal-Amur Mainline rail link unless the army can quickly unblock the river.
But a hydro-electricity station is also threatened because water is drying up in Bureyskaya hydro power reservoir which lies downstream.
Russia has also sent in teams of geomorphologists, geologists, hydrologists and land-surveyors to assess the carnage which happened around 11 December, reported The Siberian Times.
Alexey Maslov, head of Verkhnebureinsky district where the incident happened, said: “We are trying to find the explanation for this incident.
“I insist that it was a meteorite.”
A local poll in eastern Russian found 27 per cent said it was a meteorite, while 33 per cent believed a UFO attack was the cause.
But a top British scientist – and expert in landslides – insisted the collapse was not a meteorite or unexplained space incident.
Professor Dave Petley, of the University of Sheffield, said the mountain slope above the Bureya had a “pre-existing tension crack or depression” at an altitude of around 1,900 ft.
“We can say that this is certainly a rock slope failure, and that it is highly unlikely to be associated with a meteor impact event,” he said.
Despite this, it was “slightly” surprising that the fall occurred in winter when the ground was frozen, rather than at a warmer time of year, he said.
But he warned the local conditions showed “there may be a larger failure yet to come” creating a potentially even bigger landslide.
Hunters who first reached the scene – alerted by a sudden and inexplicable change in the flow of the river – reported ‘hot rocks’ on which they could warm their hands.
Their initial guess was that the mayhem had been caused by a meteorite strike – even though there were no reports of one at that time in December.
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