Sudden appearance of crater dubbed ‘the Gateway to the Underworld’ in Siberia is a warning to our warming planet


**NEFU Research Institute of Applied Ecology of the North

It is known as “the Gateway to the Underworld” by local people who fear to go near the massive crater that suddenly appeared in the frozen heart of Siberia.

And they are right to be afraid.

For as the permafrost melts, the world’s biggest “megaslump” is expanding rapidly. Already about a kilometre long and 90m deep, it is widening by up to 20m a year, making walking near its precipitous edges a dangerous pursuit.**

The article continues at the link.


Even your article confirmed the crater occurred because they removed trees/vegetation that insulated the area, not because of general ambient warming.

This story is just another example of shoddy journalism, where they try to blame everything bad on the mythical CAGW


“Thought to have occurred”. Professor Murton did not attribute the expansion of crater solely to a few trees having been cut down. I’m sure the locals had occasionally cut down trees there for centuries without generating a huge melting crater. When ambient warming is added to the random variations (like cutting down a few trees), the result is noticed first where these other factors act as the trigger.


You should read it again, the Prof made no claim the current crater was caused by GW, he only said we would expect to see more of this in the future, assuming global warming occurs.

The Batagaika crater is thought to have begun after local people cut down some trees in the 1980s or early 1990s.

“Once you disturb the vegetation or soil above permafrost that can often set in train events that lead to the melting of ice within the permafrost,” he said.

“Cutting down of vegetation … removes some of the insulation that keeps the ground cool and that allows the summer heat to penetrate deeper into the ground.”


It’s a decent interview.

Doesn’t say anything people reading permafrost journals for the past twenty years haven’t been saying for a long time…


Your article never states nor indicates this crater was caused by global warming, It only uses it as an example of a future contingent on global warming occurring.

“As the climate warms – I think there’s no shadow of a doubt it will warm – we will get increasing thaw of the permafrost and increasingly development of these ‘thermokarst’ features. There will be more slumps and more gullying, more erosion of the land surface.


Siberia needed some kind of tourist drawn anyway. :wink:


Planet hasn’t warmed in 18 years anyways.


I didn’t read the article, but it seems to me that the so called “Gateway to the Underworld” is just a big sinkhole. :shrug:


Don’t you think the subject has more to do with the idea that if permafrost melts past a certain point that it will be impossible to stop.

Once methane begins melting permafrost, then permafrost releases more methane, which in turn melts more permafrost…

Postive feedback loops…


It was typical CAGW alarmism. They used an unrelated anecdote to present a dire future as boogeyman. The article was all conjecture, no science.


There is a body of opinion holding that the geological features of at least a large portion of the Ozarks, where I live, is due to subterranean erosion which goes on all the time, but which had a dramatic increase when the glaciers melted well north of here. One of the reasons is that the “peaks” all appear to be at nearly the same height while a lot of the same layers found on the “mountains” are also found in the deep hollows, at a much lower level.

As the article points out, it seems unlikely there is any real melting of the permafrost due to air temperatures in a place where the winter temperature drops below -60 degrees. But it certainly seems possible some of the underlying support has reached a critically weak stage, whether it’s due to water erosion, water withdrawal or some other cause.

One remembers those photos of the remnants of the once much larger Aral Sea. Basically the Soviets destroyed the Sea altogether by withdrawing the feeder rivers waters for desert irrigation.


Given that 1998 is only tied for 6th place how do you figure? Of the 16 hottest years on record 15 of them are 2001-2015. 2015 was found to be the hottest year on record due to a strong El Nino on top of global warming, 1998 also had a strong one.

The decline of the permafrost would start at the edges, especially the more sporadic bits of permafrost.


But isn’t El Nino a “zero sum” phenomenon? It isn’t really a warming per se, but a shift in the location of warmer waters from the western Pacific to the eastern Pacific.

I recall talking to an Aussie rancher about all of that, and Aussie ranchers pay a lot of attention to that oscillation because when we have an El Nino, which brings wet, cool weather to the central U.S., it brings hot, dry weather to Australia. The reverse is also true.

I can certainly imagine El Nino creating the appearance of warming if the measuring stations in the U.S. are more numerous than those in the southwest Pacific. Far and away most of the southern hemisphere is ocean, and one wonders whether temperature studies there are as numerous and well-monitored as they are in, say, North America.

Also, El Nino conditions cause cooler summers but warmer winters in my part of the country. La Nina conditions cause hot, dry summers and bitterly cold, dry winters.
I wonder about the degree to which those things are taken into account.

Then there’s the Atlantic gyre, or whatever they call it, which is another 'temperature switch" phenomenon.


I’ve never heard of the Atlantic gyre, but it has a nice ring to it!


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