A massive crack has appeared on a ranch in Wyoming, and no one knows how it got there.
It’s a mysterious and terrifying sight: a pair of hunting guides stumbled upon a huge crack in the Earth stretching six football fields in central Wyoming, and there are concerns about what lies beneath.
The hunting guides first noticed a crack in this location in the Bighorn Mountains last month, but it wasn’t that big so they didn’t pay much attention to it. But when they came back, the crack had become a massive gash in the Earth’s crust, according to KUSA 9 News. It caused a temporary panic that a volcano was about to erupt — but the reality is probably much more mundane, experts believe.
The crack is now 50 yards wide and about 600 yards long. No one knows what caused it or if it will grow larger, and no one saw it begin to open. It is located about 40 miles south of Ten Sleep.
Numerous photos were taken of the crack, which now has steep cliffs and large boulders on the bottom. But it’s not just the size of the crack, it’s how quickly it appeared, and it led to speculation that a volcanic eruption or earthquake was imminent. However, experts apparently don’t believe that’s likely, according to a Washington Post report.
An engineer was sent out to the gash to assess the situation, and he believes that a wet spring lubricated a cap rock, and a spring on either side resulted in the bottom sliding out and creating the crack.
Seth Wittke, who is the manager of groundwater and geologic hazards and mapping for the Wyoming Geological Survey, was quoted in the report as saying that such things can happen due to a number of triggers, but moisture in the subsurface causing weakness in the ground above is a very common reason for the bedrock losing stability like this.