To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Scientists discover the 'Gateway to Hell' is expanding so rapidly it can be seen from space

Scientists discover the 'Gateway to Hell' is expanding so rapidly it can be seen from space

The deep pit is only growing in size, and it's a big worry

A pit known as the 'Gateway to Hell' has been revealed to be expanding rapidly by scientists.

And it's not looking good for the environment on our blue planet.

The 'Gateway to Hell' - also known as the 'Batagaika Crater' - is located in the Yana highlands of Siberia and is said to be the largest of its kind.

It's about 200 acres wide and 300 feet deep but is growing at a concerning rate.

So, here's the science behind it.

The pit first formed when something called 'permafrost' soil in the Siberian tundra started to release large amounts of previously frozen methane into Earth's atmosphere.

You may know methane as one of the gases we let out when we fart, but it is something a lot more serious in larger amounts. It is a powerful greenhouse gas - more powerful and harmful than carbon dioxide.

New research found that as the crater continues to deepen, the amount of methane and carbon gases released into the atmosphere has reached between 4,000 and 5,000 tonnes each year.

David Attenborough was right, the world we live in might be in trouble.

The pit continues to grow. (Alexander Gabyshev, Research Institute Of Applied Ecology Of The North)
The pit continues to grow. (Alexander Gabyshev, Research Institute Of Applied Ecology Of The North)

According to the study's lead author, the findings 'demonstrates how quickly permafrost degradation occurs.'

Glaciologist Alexander Kizyakov is the man in question and has warned that the crater could soon leak all the remaining greenhouse gas it has left contained.

Working with 12 other researchers on the new study, which was published last month in the Geomorphology journal, they found that the crater has nearly reached bedrock, meaning we're almost at the end of the pit's downwards growth.

However, the professor at Lomonosov Moscow State University in Russia said that this doesn't mean it's done expanding.

"Expansion along the margins and upslope is expected," he told Atlas Obscura.

"This lateral expansion is also limited by the proximity of bedrock, the top of which apparently rises to the saddle between the nearest mountains about 550 meters [1805 feet] uphill."

Seeing as you can already see the 'Gateway to Hell' from space, signs that it is set to grow and cause more harm to the planet are not ideal.

The pit is visible from space, and is set to get even bigger. (NASA)
The pit is visible from space, and is set to get even bigger. (NASA)

The research team developed a 3D model of how the icy permafrost has given way in the past few decades, using data from several independent sources.

Data collected from satellites and drone flights were combined with permafrost and soil samples, with all data fed into the computer model.

It helped to predict the next stages of the geological structure and its melting permafrost so they can figure out what materials are being thawed and what is being released into the atmosphere.

Kizyakov spoke about the results to Popular Science, saying that it demonstrates 'how dynamically the landforms in permafrost areas change'.

Featured Image Credit: Alexander Gabyshev, Research Institute Of Applied Ecology Of The North / NASA

Topics: Environment, Global Warming, Science

Choose your content: