For years scientists have been warning us about the perils of climate change. Massive heat waves, heavy floods, and stronger storms are just a few of the effects that are now actually happening in real time.
Climate change is not just affecting the weather, either. It’s affecting the earth itself, with changing precipitation patterns, loss of sea ice, rising ocean levels, and drawn-out periods with no frost negatively impacting agriculture all over the world.
Still, the effects of climate change are lost on most of us; we don’t yet see how it influences our daily routines (save for remembering to bring our umbrellas before we leave the house). However, if we lived in Siberia, it’d be clear as day—and this massive crater in Siberia proves it.
This formation in Siberia is called the Batagaika crater, but locals have given it another name: the “Doorway to the Underworld.” It’s a scary moniker for a scary natural phenomenon that currently has hundreds of geologists on edge.
This crater is one of the largest in all of Siberia, and it is growing in size every single year. Researchers studying the crater say that it has expanded an average of 33 feet every year for the past 10 years.
The massive rate of its growth isn’t the only cause for concern. As the crater widens, it reveals ancient subterranean forests that could speed up the rate of climate change. As more is exposed, more greenhouse gases are released—and greenhouse gases contribute to climate change.
It’s not just the polar ice caps that are melting, either. Because of climate change, these forests—which were once covered in Siberian permafrost—are now almost completely thawed. Warming of the permafrost contributes to overall warming of the planet itself.
During particularly warm seasons, the crater was recorded as growing up to a whopping 98 feet in a single year. The crater is massive already at a half-mile wide and 282 feet deep. Its continued growth serves as a powerful reminder of the dangers of our rapidly overheating planet.
The earth is a living thing and it shares with us a tremendous and life-sustaining bounty. We should treat it with the respect it deserves—before it’s too late!
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