Symbolism: Siberia’s ‘Doorway To The Underworld’ Is Rapidly Growing In Size

In the vast landscape of eastern Siberia there is a massive hole in the ground known as the “doorway to the underworld” triggered from climate change in the recent decades. The permafrost ground near the Yana River Basin has been warming lately, causing large scale changes in the local topography and ecology.

The tadpole-shaped crater, called the Batagaika crater, is known as a “megaslump” and is related to karsting triggered through permafrost melting. Currently, the crater measures 0.6 miles long and 282 feet deep. However, the crater’s growth has increased recently prompting locals to nickname it the “doorway to the underworld” and to avoid the area.

Permafrost is ground which remains at or below freezing temperatures for more than two years. This is common in the high latitudes of Siberia where average yearly temperatures prevent warming of the ground to above freezing. Pore spaces within the soil contains trapped water, which in the case of northern latitudes can be frozen in place for thousands of years.

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