In the Verkhoyansk region, not far from the Yakut village of Batagai, there is a giant crater of an unusual shape. Geologists discovered it a quarter of a century ago and still cannot accurately determine the nature of its origin, and among the locals, for some reason, it immediately began to enjoy the notorious "gateway to hell".
Today it is called "Batagayka crater". This is a huge crater 120 meters deep, growing by 20 meters annually and turning into a giant crack with a length of more than 1.5 km. Residents of the surrounding villages are afraid to approach it because of the monstrous sounds caused, apparently, by crumbling soil.
However, what causes mystical horror for some, for others - namely, scientists - is of natural interest. For them, this is another unique opportunity to learn something new about the past and future of the Earth. Yakutia is known to be one of the coldest places on our planet. A recent expedition revealed that the local permafrost is about 200, 000 years old.
According to Dr. Julian Merton of the University of Sussex, crater formation and growth are associated with melting permafrost. Over the past decades, many similar craters have formed in Siberia. This is not the first expedition of the British scientist to Yakutia, where he, together with the staff of the North-Eastern Federal University, is studying a mysterious natural phenomenon.
So scientists managed to find the remains of ancient animals - bison, horses, elk, mammoths and deer that lived here about 4, 5 thousand years ago. In addition, the objects of study for them were permafrost, sedimentary layers, the nature of landscape changes and the consequences of this for the future of the planet.