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British broadcaster BBC has released a story "A huge Siberian hole in the ground is getting bigger", dedicated to the Batagay crater. This geographical feature is also called the "gates of hell". Scientists exploring this crater are studying the climate of our planet's past and global warming.
Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences, Senior Researcher at the Geological Faculty of Moscow State University, Vladimir Syvorotkin, in an interview with Vechernyaya Moskva, explained what is unique about this geographical object and “why a huge Siberian hole in the ground” is expanding.
Under the layer of permafrost
According to the scientist, from the point of view of its shape, it is difficult to call Batagayka a crater, rather it is a ravine. Moreover, its origin is associated not only with the activities of the conquerors of Siberia, who mastered this territory.
- Crater - the name is not very good. Yes, there is a roundness of the slope, but it is stretched for almost a kilometer, obviously along some fault zone, suggests Syvorotkin.
If you go deeper into history, then in 1939, literally before the Great Patriotic War, in these places belonging to the Verkhoyansk region of Yakutia, the development of tin deposits began. The village of Batagay was founded, and in 1960, a section of the forest was cut down 8 kilometers southeast of it. The soil subsided and exposed everything that had been stored under the permafrost for thousands of years, including the remains of animals and plants.
Vladimir Syvorotkin said that he met with similar phenomena on expeditions to Chukotka in the 1970s.
- Permafrost is such a delicate formation. The all-terrain vehicle is driving on a track, and it can only drive alone. The second is driving along a different trajectory, because the moss begins to melt, turning into mud. Here is about the same story, - the scientist shared his experience.
The secret of expansion
By the way, the local population calls Batagayka “the gates of hell”, since the ravine is of thermokarst origin, when the upper layers of the earth are destroyed by thawing. Moreover, in Yakutia in summer there is a 30 degrees of heat, albeit not for long. It is necessary to touch the permafrost a little - to cut down the forest, for example - and "everything will float," the scientist says.
- Taking into account the fact that the territory of the ravine is constantly expanding, there are constant landslides, everything flows. In such places, chaos usually reigns. Moreover, in the summer there probably all this floats and squishes, - said Syvorotkin.
According to the expert's forecasts, the thermokarst formation will continue to expand if its walls are not strengthened in any way. However, whether this is necessary is a big question. The dimensions of Batagayka are impressive: the length is about a kilometer, the width is 800 meters, the maximum depth is 100 meters, which means that there is enough material for research.
- Some of the uniqueness of this place is that it was opened. It can be attractive for different researchers, and as a tourist site too, especially if they are allowed to dig in it. There are lovers. Indeed, in such conditions, both the skins of animals with hair and millennial breeds are preserved, - says Syvorotkin.
Also, next to the ravine there is a village with an airport, where you can arrive by a regular flight from Yakutsk, which can also attract foreign scientists.
Vladimir Syvorotkin recalled global warming in the Arctic due to degassing in the depths of the Arctic Ocean, when methane and hydrogen rise from the bottom. And if on the surface the air temperature is minus 30 degrees Celsius, then in water it rarely drops to minus 1.5 degrees, and in the depths the water is even warmer.These processes contribute to the formation of spots of abnormal heat in the Arctic in permafrost conditions, and this is not associated with human activities. So thermokarst formations can be observed not only in Yakutia, and their number will increase.