General, Research, Technology

Mysterious stripes have been discovered on the surface of Siberia. What it is?

NASA Aerospace Agency reported thatmysterious stripes were noticed in Siberia. They are clearly visible on satellite images, but researchers still cannot explain the reason for their occurrence. Patterns of dark and light stripes are predominantly observed near the Markha River, which is located in the Sakha Republic. Its length is 1,181 kilometers and the basin area is 99,000 square kilometers. Winters in this area are very harsh, so every year the river freezes completely for 5 months. In general, the place is very unusual, so the patterns could arise from anything. At the moment, scientists have two assumptions, each of which is worthy of attention. Approximately the same patterns can be found in other cold spots on our planet, so it is possible that researchers are already close to a solution. So what do the put forward theories sound like?

Mysterious patterns in Siberia

What is the Landsat-8 satellite for?

An unusual natural phenomenon was described inthe publication Science Alert, and the images were published on the Earth Observatory website. The photographs were taken by the American satellite Landsat-8, which was launched in 2013. Its main task is to take high quality photographs of the Earth. The Landsat program was launched in the distant 1970s and has provided a lot of useful data about the state of the earth's surface and the changes that are taking place in it. The Landsat-8 satellite consists of the Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Thermal InfraRed Sensor (TIRS) spacecraft and instruments. The spacecraft provides power, control, communication with the Earth, and storage of the data collected by the instruments. And tools are needed to take photographs.

Landsat-8 satellites

You can read more about Landsat satellites in the article "How do satellites work?"

A new mystery of nature

The photographs show lands with alternatingdark and light stripes. An unusual phenomenon occurs on both sides of the Markha River and has been observed for several years in a row. It is noteworthy that the patterns are preserved during all four seasons. But they are most pronounced in winter, when the white snow makes the contrasting pattern even sharper. Most likely, the unusual phenomenon arises due to the fact that the region is in a frozen state for most of the year. But how the permafrost forms such patterns is another question.

Patterns in Siberia are noticeable at any time of the year

The first version says that the patterns are formed due tothe fact that frozen lands thaw from time to time. A 2003 article in the journal Science talks about the property of regularly thawing lands to form strange, circular or striped patterns. Then this phenomenon was called "patterned earth", and the reason for its occurrence was believed to be that melt water somehow sorts stones and other rocks by size. Patterned lands can be found on the Norwegian island of Svalbard. Only now it is much smaller in size than the Siberian patterns.

Patterned lands in Norway

The essence of the second version is erosion -gradual destruction of the earth's surface. According to geologist Thomas Crafford, the stripes in the photographs resemble a puff pastry. Such a structure may well arise when water from melted snow or heavy rains descends from hills and washes rocks down. In this case, the patterns will just be more noticeable in the winter, so this theory seems to scientists the most likely.

Another photo of mysterious patterns in Siberia

However, while the veracity of this theory is notconfirmed. NASA intends to continue to monitor the surface of Siberia and record all measurements. The secret will obviously not be revealed soon, because for complete confidence you need to collect as much data and a longer period of time. Fortunately, the Landsat-8 satellite works great and will surely get all the information scientists need.

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In general, mysterious formations on the territorySiberia is far from uncommon. About four years ago, a 17.5-meter crater was discovered in the valley of the Siberian river Yerkuta. In this case, scientists also could not quickly give an explanation for the unusual phenomenon, so some people began to consider this crater as a result of the activities of aliens. There was also a theory that a meteorite fell to Earth, but no one noticed it. The mystery was solved only in 2020 - it turned out that the crater was formed for very natural reasons.