'Doorway To The Underworld': Siberia's Batagaika Crater Is Expanding Rapidly

First Posted: Feb 27, 2017 03:00 AM EST

The Batagaika Crater referred to as a "mega slump" and dubbed by locals as the "Doorway to the Underworld" in Siberia has been expanding rapidly. This confirms that Siberia's permafrost has been thinning lately.

Batagaika crater is considered one of the biggest craters in the region, which is about 0.6 miles (1 km) long and 282 feet (86 meters) deep. With its expansion, it will certainly heighten in measurements. It is now uncovering the ancient forests.

The crater is rapidly growing due to global warming and the frozen ground was no longer shaded. During summer, it heated up more rapidly than it had in the past. This triggered the permafrost to melt and the ground to collapse.

Furthermore, the severe flooding in 2008 made the melting even worse and generated expansion of the crater. Its expansion might reach the neighboring valley in the coming months as the temperatures rise.

Frank Gunther from the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany told BBC that on average over many years, they have seen that there is not so much acceleration or deceleration of these rates; it is continuously growing. The headwall of the crater has expanded by an average of 10 meters (33 feet) per year over the past decade of observations. On the other hand, in warmer years the growth has been up to 30 meters (98 feet) per year, according to Gunther.

Meanwhile, with the collapse of the permafrost follows the discovery of the 200,000 years of climate data. The findings of this discovery were published in the journal Quaternary Research. The discovery was led by Julian Murton from the University of Sussex and colleagues.

They found preserved remains of long-buried forests, frozen remains of mammoth, musk ox, a 4,400-year-old horse and ancient pollen samples. According to the team, the exposed sediment could aid the researchers in understanding how the climate of Siberia changed in the past and how it will change in the future, according to Science Alert. 

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