In 1955, three Russian geologists—Yuri Khabardin, Ekaterina Elagina, and Viktor Avdeenko—began a dangerous trek deep into the Siberian wilderness. What they found changed the fate of their country forever…

It’s no secret that humans have gone to insane lengths to transform the world around us. We’ve leveled forests to build parking lots, flooded valleys to make lakes, dammed rivers to power homes, and even carved old men into mountainsides. Time and again, mankind has proven that it can shape and change the natural world with ease. But sometimes, the natural world fights back.

When Soviet geologists made an extraordinary find in the Siberian wilderness, they believed its excavation would be routine. What happened then would become a nightmare for the next 44 years…

In the aftermath of World War II, the Russian economy found itself in shambles. As the nation teetered on the brink of collapse, Soviet officials were forced to commission a deadly expedition in order to keep the country alive. 

In 1955, three Russian geologists—Yuri Khabardin, Ekaterina Elagina, and Viktor Avdeenko—began a dangerous trek deep into the Siberian wilderness. What they found changed the fate of their country forever…

After a grueling 5,000 mile journey, the team stumbled upon a massive vein of the volcanic rock kimberlite. The bulky, alien-like stone was a find unlike any other, and its rich mineral deposits were exactly what the geologists were looking for.

Believing that Russia’s saving grace was lying just below the surface, a three-year excavation began to unearth the potential treasures. But what began as an undertaking of hope and optimism quickly turned deadly…

Throughout the seven-month Siberian winters, both the miners and the earth were ravaged by brutal weather and -40 degree temperatures. Even dynamite and jet engines proved useless against the icy permafrost.

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