Strange hole in Kudat caused by lightning, says geologist

Felix-Tongkul_sabah_kilat_600

KOTA KINABALU: The mysterious appearance of a seemingly bottomless hole measuring one foot in diameter on a village road near Kudat on Friday morning has left folks in the area astounded and wondering if it was brought about by paranormal elements.

An eyewitness said he saw a light flashing on the earth at the spot at Kampung Rambai-Marabau at about 1.30am when it was raining.

He said he was surprised to find the hole there after sunrise.

Several theories soon formed as photos of the incident went viral on social media, including that it was caused by a subterranean creature that came to the surface and that it was made by an alien.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) geologist Felix Tongkul has however, dismissed all the fanciful theories, saying that the hole was most probably created by vertical lightning.

“I believe this is so based on the weather when the incident happened with lightning reportedly occurring. My guess is that the hole was made by one of the lightning strikes.

“This is interesting because normally we only see lightning striking trees,” he said.

Tongkul said similar incidents featuring holes on the ground had been reported elsewhere such as in Wichita, Kansas, in the United States.

He said this was the first such case to be documented in Malaysia.

“If this theory is true, I believe we should conserve this hole as a natural heritage. Sure, it is in the middle of the road, but we could realign the road.

“This would ensure we are able to keep this proof of a unique event where lightning has left its mark on the ground,” he said.

Tongkul also dismissed the notion that the hole was so deep that it could not be measured, saying it was proven to be shallow.

He said the dark stripes along the sides of the cavity were created by high voltage in the lightning.

There were some black material at the bottom which could be remains of burning soil from the high voltage strike, he added.

Tongkul added that one of his friends theorised that the hole could be a remnant of drilling by an oil company in the area a long time ago.

“This could be another possibility buy it is quite difficult to confirm this,” he said.

Kudat was home to another recent phenomenon where pillars of light in orange, red, yellow, white and green were seen protruding in the sky from sunset to sunrise on June 22.

The district was also at the centre of world attention when it experienced a total solar eclipse in 1995.