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In the heart of Siberia’s boreal forest, a massive crater the locals call the “gateway to the underworld” has been growing for the last fifty years. It appears in the form of a huge gash on earth, a kilometer long and one hundred meters deep at one end. 

Named after the nearby flowing Batagayka river, a tributary of the river Yana, the Batagaika crater is what geologists call a thermokarst depression —cave-ins which results when the permafrost melts, and although the Batagaika crater has no connection to the underworld, as the Yakutian people believe, it is still something to be feared of as these “slumps”, that are increasingly appearing across the northern hemisphere, could represent an ominous sign of things to come as the world continues to warm.

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Aerial view of the Batagaika Crater. Photo credit: Research Institute of Applied Ecology of the North/Alexander Gabyshev

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© Amusing Planet, 2017.





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