World’s Biggest Permafrost Crater in Russia’s Far East Thaws as Planet Warms

Reuters TV via Reuters
The Batagaika crater, Sakha Republic, Russia, on July 11 or 12

BATAGAI, Russia (Reuters) — Stunning drone footage has revealed details of the Batagaika crater, a 1-kilometer-long gash in Russia’s Far East that forms the world’s biggest permafrost crater.

In the video, two explorers clamber across uneven terrain at the base of the depression, marked by irregular surfaces and small hummocks, which began to form after the surrounding forest was cleared in the 1960s and the permafrost underground began to melt, causing the land to sink.

Scientists say Russia is warming at least 2.5 times faster than the rest of the world, melting the long-frozen tundra that covers about 65% of the country’s landmass and releasing greenhouse gases stored in the thawed soil.