Theres a strange fissure in the landscape that splits through the frosty depths of Siberia called the Crimson Batagayka. The area has long been surrounded in secret, but scientists are now digging into the history of this geological malfunction to find out why it seems to grow at such an alarming rate.
The crater depth of 90 meters (300 feet) appeared about 25 years ago in the Verkhoyansk region of Siberia, Russia, and is measured at almost 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) in length. Along with the crater Batagayk, in the vicinity there were many other craters and dips.
Cracks and craters only appeared in the last decades, after large areas of the forest were cleared of industrial activities. Local residents branded it as a “gateway to the underworld” and surrounded the crater with fears and superstitions, reports The Siberian Times. Since it is in a remote area of one of the coldest corners of the Earth, the origin of the crater remains relatively unknown. The recent expedition, however, has found its development, and it seems that climate change is the culprit.
Professor Julian Mourton of the University of Sussex, who headed the expedition and conducted a continuous study of the crater, found that the soil in the depth of the crater is in fact 200,000 years old, 80,000 years older than previously thought. For millennia of geological records shown in soil layers, the researchers also got an idea of the history of this mysterious corner of the planet.
They found that the crater is currently experiencing a dramatic “megglamp,” which further grows at a speed of more than 18 meters (60 feet) every year. The locals even reported strange booms from the underworld, which were attributed to recent geological activities. Professor Murton told the motherboard that this fall, thawing of permafrost, rich in ice, is faster than any similar geological event in the past 10,000 years. He further explained that the reason for this could be the warming of the climate, the melting of the surrounding permafrost.
More information is still required for scientists to fully understand this mysterious crater. Murton hopes to conduct future research that will take samples of permafrost to shed more light on the environment and its long history.
[H / T: Motherboard]