Science & Tech

Siberia's 'gateway to hell' is now so big it can be seen from space

Siberia's 'gateway to hell' is now so big it can be seen from space
Down To Earth/YouTube

One of the most striking natural formations on the planet, known as the 'Batagaika Crater’ but also called the 'Gateway to Hell,' is getting so large due to climate change that it can be seen from space.

The enormous geographical feature measures a huge 200 acres wide and 300-feet deep in the Yana highlands of Siberia.

It originally formed as a result of previously frozen methane gas being released from under melting permafrost soil, and things are speeding up faster than expected due to the impact of climate change.

In fact, the rate of the greenhouse gas methane being emitted into the air is the subject of a new study, which explores the alarming rate the process is speeding up.

Down to Earth/YouTube

According to the authors of the study, which was published in the journal Geomorphology, the crater will leak all of the remaining methane into the atmosphere.

The experts involved developed a 3D model of the crater, looking in depth at how the permafrost has melted over the years.

The lead author of the study is glaciologist Alexander Kizyakov said that despite the fact that the permafrost has nearly melted fully, revealing the bedrock beneath, it could still continue melting and releasing harmful gases.

The dramatic geographical process is having a big impact on the local ecosystems.

Nikita Tananaev from the Melnikov Permafrost Institute in Yakutsk, who was not a contributor to the new research, told Atlas Obscura: “This will lead to significant alterations to the riverine habitat, and the effect of sediment escaping the slump [the Batagaika crater] is even seen in the Yana River, the major river in the vicinity.”

“This lateral expansion is also limited by the proximity of bedrock, the top of which apparently rises to the saddle between the nearest mountains about 550 meters [1805 feet] uphill.”

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