If you've been following this week's blogs, Russia has been front and center. It's not because I'm on some sort of "Russia kick" but simply because, as readers here know, the blogs on this site are in part "community driven," i.e., I blog about the most numerous stories I receive from readers here who notice and send along stories, and when themes emerge from that mass of emailings, I tend to concentrate on those themes. And this past week, Russia has certainly been "the theme." This story was noticed by Mr. T.M. (and several others), and it's a strange one, for sure, and as this story is coming from the U.K. tabloid The Daily Mail, take it with a grain of salt:
The story is straightforward enough: a natural fissure in a mountain caused a landslide, blocking a river, threatening a local hydro-electric power supply center, and threatening to cut off a major rail line between Siberia and Russia's far East coastline:
VLADIMIR Putin has drafted in soldiers to investigate a “collapsed mountain” in a remote region of Siberia amid suggestions it may have been caused by a UFO crash-landing.
Whatever the cause, the event resulted in a massive rockfall which has blocked the nearby Bureya river, and left several villages at risk of flooding. So much rock was shifted it would fill 13,600 Olympic-sized swimming pools, say experts. Meanwhile, the falling 34 million cubic metres of debris left a gash in a mountain which could swallow up all the water used if every American showered at the same time.
Flooding could also disrupt the 2,700-mile long Baikal-Amur Mainline rail link, which is a vital link between the Siberian interior and Russia’s east coast, unless the army can unblock the river quickly.
To complicate matters still further, a hydro-electricity station is also threatened because water is drying up in Bureyskaya hydro power reservoir located downstream.
A significant number of locals seem to think it was UFO-related, but A British geologist is laying the blame to much more mundane sources: fissures in the local topography:
However, a local poll in eastern Russian suggested the while 27 per cent agreed with his assessment, more – 33 per cent believed a UFO – was the cause.
Professor Dave Petley, Vice-President for Research and Innovation at the University of Sheffield and an expert in the science of landslides, dismissed both ideas, explaining the mountain slope above the Bureya had a “pre-existing tension crack or depression” at an altitude of around 1,900 ft.
He said: “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.”
Ok, I'll buy that, but I'm still skeptical. This seems to be a week when Russia is concentrating on the Dark Overlord 9/11 hacks, when its version of the Hubble telescope has "gone down" and Roscosmos has "lost control" of it, so the timing here bothers me, and as one might imagine, I'm willing to crawl to the end of the twig of high octane speculation here, for it strikes me as just a little too convenient that this rock slide manages to threaten a power plant, a major rail artery, and several villages, all at once, particularly when some locals are saying "UFO." So what if all the proffered explanations are true? What if some "space event" or "impact" event on a natural feature deliberately triggered the slide? Against this idea the article points out that there were no meteor impacts reported in Siberia last December, which raises another question: why was the military sent in so late? But in any case, the military response itself is intriguing, suggesting that the Russian Ministry of Defense may suspect more is involved in the story than mere geological features. Indeed, this statement may be interpreted in that sense:
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 on to the valley floor.
"Reconnaisance work" normally implies reconnoitering enemy positions or activity; "Exploration work" or "initial assessments" would be the phrase to use if one suspected merely something natural. It's that suggestive use of words - and the Russians are nothing if not very attentive to words - and the unusual effects of the location of this landslide, that make me wonder if some sort of sophisticated covert operations or warfare were being conducted against Russia...
...think of it as the Russian version of the California fires...
See you on the flip side...