Massive "Crater to Hell" Expanding in Russia

Andrei Tapalaga

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Photo of Russia's Batagaika Crater located in Siberia@AssaadRazzouk/Twitter

A crater located in the heart of Siberia has been seeing a quick expansion in the past few years, over 30 meters per year, and is now reaching a point where geologists are worried.

The crater started to form back in the 1960s after parts of the massive Siberian forests have been cleared out. The land was held up due to the permafrost soil, as well as the lack of contact with humanity. The tall trees standing close to one another were shading the frozen ground from the sun.

With some of the trees cut down and the increase in average temperature over time due to global warming, the permafrost started to melt. Usually, craters are formed by meteors that hit the earth, but permafrost craters form by an explosion caused by pockets of air stuck between the frozen ground.

Seeing a crater that keeps on expanding is a whole different story. During the early creation or better-said expansion of the Batagaika crater, scientists exploring the area didn’t really pay much attention to its expansion. It was not necessarily a lack of attention, but the slow expansion rate that contributed to this.

Taking into consideration that there isn’t much information on the crater prior 1980s, it is uncertain actually how many people were aware that a natural shift is taking place. Scientists that have recently been analyzing the inside of the mouth have found that this is actually a gate, not to hell (as much as we are aware) but a gate to a natural database holding years of climate data.

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A look at how global temperature has changed over the years, possibly affecting the growth of the craterNASA/YouTube

The crater does a great job at painting the picture of how global temperature has risen over the years which is also correlated to the growth and expansion of the crater. The data that has been exposed through the layers of soil is over 200,000 years old, although the lower layer may actually be 650,000 years old.

From nothing, the crater has managed to expand shy of 1 kilometer long (0.6 miles) and 86 meters (262 feet) deep. You can see from the image above that a major spike had occurred in the 1940s, this may have also been the spike that caused the creation of the crater.

The 1940s is very significant due to the high increase in fuel consumption which was mainly caused by the II World War. An effect of the industrial revolution set to overtime, due to the high production of ammunition and weaponry, a manufacturing process that resorts to burning a lot of fossil fuels, creating carbon dioxide which leads to a shift in global temperature.

The World Meteorologic Organisation (WMO) has shown their concern on Twitter with this rare and unique phenomenon, as well as what it entails for the future of climate change. 

The increase in the pace of expansion is clear and this will most probably be nothing compared to what the expansion could look like in 2030 when the global temperature will reach 1.5°C. The crater is set on a trajectory to eat and engulf everything in its vicinity, with no way of being stopped.

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