Siberia’s ‘gateway to the underworld’ grows as record heat wave thaws permafrost

The Extinction Chronicles

In half a century, global warming has widened the Batagay megaslump from a small gully to a yawning pit more than 900 meters wide.

KATIE ORLINSKY/NATGEO IMAGE COLLECTION

On a spring day in 2019, Alexander Kizyakov rappelled down the 60-meter headwall of the Batagay megaslump in eastern Siberia, pausing to chisel out chunks of ice-rich soil that had been frozen for eons. “One of my hobbies is rock climbing,” says Kizyakov, a permafrost scientist at Lomonosov Moscow State University. Colleagues below sampled the most ancient soil along the base of the cliff. Such work is too dangerous in summertime, when the constant crackling of melting ice is punctuated by groans as slabs of permafrost, some as big as cars, shear off the headwall.

Known to locals as the “gateway to the underworld,” Batagay is the largest thaw slump on the planet. Once just a gully on…

View original post 945 more words

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s