The Russian army is investigating a collapsed mountain in Siberia amid claims a meteorite or UFO caused the landslide.
The 200-metre mound of debris formed from a big rockfall is now blocking the Bureya River, threatening remote villages with flooding.
So much rock shifted that it would fill 13,600 Olympic-sized swimming pools. 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 huge landslide is not ruled out.
The defence ministry is en route “to conduct reconnaissance work” at the site where the rockfall took place.
“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.
Alexey Maslov, head of Verkhnebureinsky district where the incident happened, said, “We are trying to find the explanation for this incident.
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.
Professor Dave Petley, of the University of Sheffield, said slope had a “pre-existing tension crack or depression. 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.”
Many agree that it’s strange the mountain collapsed during winter when rockfall is less common due to cold temperatures.