Society

Crater Found In Utah Farmer's Pond (Photo)

| by Jonathan Wolfe

A crater in a Utah farm pond has proven to be a puzzling phenomenon for local geologists.

Farmer Gary Dalton first noticed the crater, which is about 25-feet wide and seven inches deep, when he was draining the pond recently.

"The sun was just right, so I saw this blasted thing that no one had ever seen," he told KSL.com.

Here’s a picture of the crater:

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Utah geologists now have a theory about what caused the crater, but say many of their early ideas went “up in smoke.” The early possibilities considered by scientists included: a bursting natural spring, a methane burp, a bursted pipeline or a meteor impact.

Dalton has a theory of his own.

“My heck, I guess that’s martian art,” he joked.

Geologist Bill Lund has a much more rational, if less entertaining, explanation.

The pond has been drained and refilled over a dozen times in the last two years. Lund says this repeated adding and subtracting of pressure on the ground has led to a geologic hazard called collapsible soils.  

“As it collapsed and compacted,” Lund said. “It forced some air and some water up and created this thing. It looks like a one-off thing. It just happened one time. That's it.”

Here’s a visual illustration of what caused the crater, courtesy of MailOnline:

Even with a sound theory in hand, Lund admits all of the pieces to the puzzle aren’t in place yet.

"I mean there are still some unanswered questions here," Lund said. "That's for sure.”

Sources: KSL, MailOnline