Tag Archives: places

The Idiosyncratic Crater of the Siberian Wilderness

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ED STAFFORD:

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Ed Stafford, 38, was born in Peterborough and educated at Stoneygate School, Leicester; Uppingham in Rutland; and at Newcastle University. He then earned a position in the prestigious commissioning course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and was commissioned as a British Army Officer in July 1999.

Ed went on to command platoons in the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, gaining his Northern Ireland medal in 2000 for his tour of Crossmaglen, South Armagh. Ed’s happiest military years were spent as an instructor at RTC Lichfield where he oversaw several hundred recruits through their basic training, before leaving the military as a captain in 2002.

Ed saw an opportunity to widen his experience when the United States invaded Afghanistan after 9/11. Ed took a position as a UN contractor advising UN electoral workers on planning, logistics and security matters during the first ever presidential elections. Ed managed a team of similar contractors from Herat, in the western region of Afghanistan. During his time there, Ed’s election counting centre was rocketed by terrorists; his airport camp was mortared by improvised explosive devices that narrowly missed his un-armoured office; and the compound he was stationed in was burned to the ground when the warlord Ishmael Kahn was removed from office.

Returning to expeditions, Ed took on a new challenge – setting up extreme cold weather expeditions in Patagonia, Argentina, for the expedition company GVI. Ed was Director of Programmes in Argentina, carrying out scientific research projects and Northern Ice Cap traverses in Chile.

Ed Stafford: Into the Unknown – in which he seeks the truth behind mysterious satellite images of Earth’s most remote locations.

RUSSIA , Siberia

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In The Show :

 INTO THE UNKNOWN

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One such site can be found in the desolate, rugged wilderness of Russia’s Siberia region. Here, among the silent forests and eternal cold lies a mysterious crater that has long defied efforts to categorize or label it; a place that was stumbled upon by accident and is the very definition of strange natural wonder.

whatever location we want on a whim, there is the conception that there are no new places to be found that lie beyond our all-seeing eye. However, this was not always the case. There was a time where exploration could uncover new natural wonders right over the next hill, and places remained out in the wild frontiers of the world that managed to elude not only detection, but explanation as well. In some cases, the answers to these mysteries have come no closer to being solved even as we have advanced to the age of satellite mapping. One such site can be found in the desolate, rugged wilderness of Russia’s Siberia region. Here, among the silent forests and eternal cold lies a mysterious crater that has long defied efforts to categorize or label it; a place that was stumbled upon by accident and is the very definition of strange natural wonder.

The bizarre tale starts with an expedition in 1949 into the furthest reaches of Siberia by the geologist, Vadim Kolpakov, who embarked on a mission to draw up a geological map of the region. When he reached the northernmost part of the remote Irkutsk region, Kolpakov was confronted with tales of an “evil” place sequestered away within the woods that the native Yakut people referred to as the “Fire Eagle Nest,” which they warned was so saturated with an evil force that deer and a lot of other wildlife refused to go near it. It was also claimed that anyone who went near this place experienced severe symptoms of nausea, and that some who had ventured there had simply never returned.
Kolpakov was a man of science, and was not so easily dissuaded by the spooky native stories. He ventured on, if anything more curious as to what lie out there in the remote, uncharted forests, spurred on by the tales of mystery and weirdness he was hearing from the locals. He continued his expedition, but even he was not prepared for the bizarre discovery that awaited him out in the wilds. As he climbed up a steep hill, the geologist noted something truly remarkable from a distance; an enormous, convex cone of a crater that that was the size of a 25 story building and featured a funnel shaped recess and a rounded hill in the center. Upon his discovery, Kolpanov said of the sight:
When I first saw the crater I thought that I’d gone crazy because of the heat. And indeed a perfectly shaped mount of a size of a 25-story building with a chopped off top sitting in the middle of the woods was quite an unexpected
discovery.
The cone was 80 meters tall, 150 meters wide, and had an inner circle dome about 12 meters high. The geologist at first thought that it must be the cone of a volcano, but on closer inspection realized that this was not the case. Besides, there were no known instances of volcanoes in the area for millions of years and the dome sitting in the center was extremely unusual for any sort of volcano. Due to the fact that trees did not grow up on the crater’s slopes, and that wind had not yet settled the soil, Kolpakov estimated the crater’s age as being around 250 years old, an idea that would later be backed up by tests with more modern equipment. The discovery of the strange crater would go on to spark a quest for answers that has baffled experts for decades.
The enormous, bizarre crater was named Patomskiy, after a nearby river, and as soon as it was found, theories as to its origins began to pour in. One of the earliest ideas was that it was merely a slag heap, but it was soon realized that there were not nearly enough people living in the area to create such an immense structure. It was also suggested that it could have been the site of one of Russia’s many notorious gulag labor camps, but this idea was soon abandoned as well. Kolpakov himself speculated that the crater was formed by a meteorite strike, a theory that gained some prominence in later years, but soil samples from the site have failed to produce any evidence of meteorite material, and the unique shape of the crater is not consistent with any other known meteorite crater. The odd shape of the crater is not really consistent with anything we know of, in fact, only adding fuel to the mystery. Others have stuck to the idea that it is volcanic in origin, but again there is no evidence to such an effect, and the area is not known to exhibit any volcanic activity. The idea that it could have been caused by an underground gas explosion also does not carry much weight, as there is no evidence to support it.
Some scientists, most notably the geologist Alexander Portnov, have come to the conclusion that the Patomskiy crater is the result of a piece of rock that perhaps sheared off of the meteor behind the Tunguska explosion, which leveled a large area of forest in the Krasnoyarsk region in 1908. It is surmised that since the Patomiskiy crater lies just west of the infamous Tunguska event, and since its age is estimated to be roughly around the same time, in 1908, and in fact there are some who think this is the actual crater of the Tunguska meteorite, which had previously been believed to have exploded in the atmosphere.
Perhaps inevitably, more far out ideas have cropped up over the years as well. There has been speculation that the crater was the result of a UFO crash or even a nuclear explosion, but there is nothing to strongly suggest that either of these carry any weight. The only shred of light that has been shed on the mysterious crater is the discovery of what is believed to be an incredibly dense object with high iron content lying an estimated 100 to 150 meters below the site, although what this object might be remains a mystery. The object was first discovered in 2006 by an expedition led by doctor of geological-mineralogical sciences Alexander Dmitriev, from Irkutsk State Technical University, and seems to produce magnetic anomalies.
Of course the presence of some super dense object underground has only fueled theories that it must be an alien spacecraft. One scientist, a Igor Simonov, of the Moscow Institute for Problems in Mechanics, conducted a series of experiments at the crater and came to the conclusion that it was formed by a dense, cylindrical object smashing into the earth at high speed. Simonov insisted that the object would have to be made up of an ultra dense material, and when asked about such a material, he gave the cryptic response:
On Earth this material is not available, but somewhere in space it may exist.
Simonov has also put forward the idea that the unusual appearance of the Patomiskiy crater was perhaps caused by the impact of not one object, but two. He concluded that one had hit the ground and exploded, causing a separate object to slow down in response, after which it too crashed into the earth. This would be highly unusual behavior for any known meteorites, but when asked what he thinks the objects could have been, Simonov seemed to shy away from flat out saying they were UFOs, instead giving yet another cryptic answer:
Counting the fact that two meteorites cannot fly one after the other, hitting the same spot I cannot imagine the nature of this strange object. I do not know what it is.
Only adding to the air of enigma enveloping the crater is the fact that analysis of the growth rings of the trees of the vicinity seem to show that they have experienced a period of unusually accelerated growth over four decades after which it reduced to a more normal level, a phenomenon only ever witnessed before in trees of the Chernobyl area after the disaster there. It is unknown what could have caused this odd growth spurt. There is also the presence of a low level of background radiation that is higher than that of the surrounding area and is believed to have once been much higher. No one has been able to figure out just exactly where this radiation could be coming from or why it should be occurring at this one location. There is also a complete lack of any vegetation growth within the crater, despite so much time elapsing since its creation. There is also the crater’s rather odd habit of shifting constantly, rising and falling according to the whims of some as yet misunderstood force.
The mystery of the Patomskiy crater deepened in August of 2005, when an expedition to the crater was launched by an experienced geologist by the name of Eugeny Vorobiev. The expedition started out from the town of Badaybo, and took the only road into the wilderness for 200 km, after which it was necessary to trek overland through perilous wilderness to reach the crater. When the expedition was only a few kilometers from the Patomskiy crater, tragedy struck when Vorobiev suddenly collapsed to the ground for no apparent reason. Colleagues rushed to save the scientist, but he died on the spot. When the body was brought to a hospital in Irkutsk, doctors said that Vorobiev had died of a sudden, massive heart attack, but the death remained somewhat mysterious and local people insisted that it was linked to the evil pervading the region.
What is the Patomskiy crater? Is it some sort of volcano? The result of an underground explosion? Was it created by a meteor strike or a crash landing spacecraft? What lies buried beneath it; a rock or a UFO powered by some sort of nuclear reactor? More than 60 years after its discovery, we still don’t really know for sure. Perhaps in the future further expeditions will come to a better understanding of this strange enigma, but for now it lies out there in the cold Siberian wilderness, a mystery that eludes us and perhaps even pulses within the earth with some inscrutable intent of its own.

Haiku Stairs (Stairway to Heaven). The island of Oʻahu, Hawaii

Haiku Stairs:

The Haʻikū Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven or Haʻikū Ladder, is a steep hiking trail on the island of Oʻahu, Hawaii. The total 3,922 steps span along Oahu’s Ko’olau mountain range.

“The Stairway To Heaven” — is one of the most extreme and beautiful hikes Hawaii (and America) has to offer.

For the past 26 years, the hike up the 4,000-step ladder has also been illegal, but that hasn’t stopped people — dozens a day — from making the trek up and down the steel steps that were once operated by the Coast Guard to catch a glimpse of the view at the top of Puu Keahi a Kahoe on the island of Oahu.The stepladder was built in 1943 during World War II to “provide access to buildings at the top of the ridge, used as transmission stations,” according to a tourism site called Best Places Hawaii. 

The ladder scales “nearly vertical” heights over 2,500 feet from Haiku Valley to the top of Puu Keahi a Kahoe, so high that there are points in the hike where the peaks rise above clouds.

It was a popular hiking trail in the 1980s, operated by the coast guard, Though the hike is illegal, tourists (and some locals) attempt to scale the Stairway To Heaven every day.The Honolulu Board of Water Supply, The Huffington Post reports, “has jurisdiction over the hike and requires that anyone who goes up it sign waivers and present a $1 million liability insurance policy.”

In early 2013, a group formed to petition the city to reopen the stairs to the public, but the stairs remain closed.

The best picturegraphy of haiku staires (stairway to  heaven):

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5 Most Remote Places In Human Civilization

5 most remote places

1-Mêdog County, China

Is a county of the Nyingtri Prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region of People’s Republic of China. Chinese claims include parts of Arunachal Pradesh, south of the McMahon Line, what was casus belli for the 1962 Sino-Indian War.
Medog has a favourable climate caused by the relatively low elevations in parts of the county (down to just 600 m above sea level in the Yarlung Zangbo river valley)

The area is lush and covered with trees and includes the Medog National Animal and Plant Reserve Area. It has more than 3,000 species of plants, 42 species of rare animals under special state protection, and over a thousand hexapod species.
Mêdog used to be the last county without a permanent road access in China, due to the landscape of being surrounded by several high-elevation mountain ranges. A first, simple road was built in 1970s, nevertheless it was usually blocked by ice and snow on the mountains in the winter, made it only a seasonal access. In December 2010, the Chinese government announced a project of renovating the road into a permanent highway from Bomê to Mêdog County,[2] including excavation of a new tunnel under the mountain range. The renovation was completed in 2013.

2-Alert, Canada

Remote Places Alert Canada

Alert, in the Qikiqtaaluk Region, Nunavut, Canada, is the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world, 817 kilometres (508 mi) from the North Pole.Its permanent population was reported as zero in the 2011 census, but military and scientific personnel on rotation were present. It takes its name from HMS Alert, which wintered 10 km (6.2 mi) east of the present station, off what is now Cape Sheridan,

Alert has many temporary inhabitants as it hosts a military signals intelligenceradio receiving facility at Canadian Forces Station Alert (CFS Alert), as well as a co-located Environment Canada weather station, a Global Atmosphere Watch(GAW) atmosphere monitoring laboratory, and the Alert Airport. Shortly after the end of World War II, Charles J. Hubbard began to rouse interest in the United States and Canada for the establishment of a network ofArctic stations. His plan, in broad perspective, envisaged the establishment of two main stations, one in Greenland and the other within the Archipelago, which could be reached by sea supply. These main stations would then serve as advance bases from which a number of smaller stations would be established by air.

3-Tristan da Cunha

Tristan da Cunha colloquially Tristan, is both a remote group of volcanic islands in the south Atlantic Ocean and the main island of that group. It is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, lying 2,000 kilometres from the nearest inhabited land, Saint Helena, 2,400 kilometres from the nearest continental land, South Africa, and 3,360 kilometres from South America. The territory consists of the main island, also named Tristan da Cunha, which has a north–south length of 11.27 kilometres and has an area of 98 square kilometres, along with the smaller, uninhabited Nightingale Islands and the wildlife reserves of Inaccessibleand Gough Islands.Tristan da Cunha is part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. This includes Saint Helena and equatorialAscension Island some 3,730 kilometres to the north of Tristan. The island has a population of 301 as of September 2015.

4-McMurdo Station, Antarctica

Located quite literally at the bottom of the world, Antarctica is naturally one of the most remote places on Earth. Though there are no permanent residents in the frozen region, the continent does house seasonal researchers and scientist.
The McMurdo Station, located on the northern tip of Antarctica, is the most populated research centers, with close to 1,200 scientists working in the area. Though extremely isolated from neighboring countries, there are three airstrips in McMurdo, which means the inhabitants can easily access the region, as well as many modern amenities.

5-Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland

If you think the name is hard to pronounce, try being one of the 500 people living in this desolate area. The village is located on the eastern shore of Greenland and is just north of Iceland. Greenland’s the one with all the ice, so the water surrounding the town are frozen almost year-round, making access to the region via boat near impossible. Furthermore, the small airport on the island rarely hosts flights.
The majority of the population lives off hunting and fishing, with polar bears and whales the most commonly hunted animals.