Craters quickly growing across Russia have mystified scientists over the past few years. But most can agree that they’re not a good sign.
The name of the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia translates literally to the “End of the Earth.”
It’s a disturbingly appropriate name for a place where the effects of global warming are materializing in the form of giant, gas-leaking sinkholes.
The mysterious holes began appearing in 2014 — the first measuring more than 50 feet wide. At the time, scientists were unsure of what was going on.
More than ten craters later, and they’ve found melting permafrost to be a likely culprit — which is not a good sign for the environment.
“The last time we saw a permafrost melting was 130,000 years ago,” Dr. Gideon Henderson, a professor of earth sciences at Oxford, told CNBC. “It’s a natural phenomenon because of changes in the earth’s orbit.”
So the melting in itself is not an issue. The scope of it, however, really is.
“What is definitely unprecedented is the rate of warming,” Henderson explained. “The warming that happened 130,000 years ago happened over thousands of years…What we see happening now is warming over decades or a century.”
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