A huge landfall in eastern Russia was caused by a meteorite, a falling UFO or a massive bomb, it has been claimed.
The first pictures from a remote location in the Khabarovsk region show how the 390-mile-long Bureya River was partially dammed by a monumental rock fall.
The top was severed from a large hill with rocks crashing down and forming a new 525 ft-high mound in the river bed.
There are reports of patches of “hot rocks” and sightings of “extraterrestrial meteorite fragments”.
Alexey Maslov, the head of Verkhnebureinsky district, said after witnessing the newly formed hill: "We are trying to find the explanation for this incident. I insist that it was a meteorite.”
He was backed by Dr Evgeny Zubko, a cosmic dust expert from the School of Natural Sciences at the Far Eastern Federal University, who said local residents had noted “a blast wave”.
“Whether it will be possible to find the fragments of a meteorite depends on the parameters of the fall – and good luck.”
However Maslov also claimed it could be “an explosion, a bomb, or a falling plane.”
Yet there were no reports of military missiles that went astray here, let alone plane crashes, or Russian bomb tests.
“The riverbed is blocked by a bulk” up to 2,624 ft wide, said Maslov.
The height looms from 262 to 525 ft above the river level.
“There is no radiation,” he said.
But he believed “an object entered at a sharp angle, pulled down the mound – and spread it along the river bed.”
Those who have seen the carnage insisted ‘it cannot be man-made’, he said.
One eyewitness said: ‘They either started some major building site or a UFO collapsed here.”
First images from the scene of the rockfall show a man standing and waving on the newly-formed dam showing the scale of the debris.
Hunter Anton Ivanov found the dramatically changed landscape in the remote spot 14 December – but the footage has only been revealed now.
It is believed the carnage was caused in early December, reported The Siberian Times.
“You don’t come across this every day,’ he said.
“Such scale, such force.
“There is lots of earth, thousands of tons.
“It can be seen that something flew here, touched the top of the hill and landed in the water.…
“It smells like hydrogen sulphide and vapour comes out in some places.
“We even found a spot on the very top where there are warm stones, we used them to keep our hands warm.
“It looks like it was very hot there.
“The ice edges are slim as if they were in boiling water.”
Other theories include a landslide caused by an earthquake.
Aleksei Makhinov, regional chairman of the Russian Geographic Society, said: “The cause of the landslide could have been an earthquake,’ he said.
“A meteorite could have been the reason too but it is unlikely.”
Boris Shustov, head of the Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said no sizeable meteorite capable of wreaking such havoc had been registered penetrating the earth’s atmosphere.
The Bureyskaya hydro power station reservoir downstream is receiving less water.
And there are warnings of flooding for villages upstream because of the partial blockage of the river.
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