In northern Siberia, rising temperatures are causing mysterious giant craters — and even more dire consequences could be in store, say climate scientists.
The Russian province’s long-frozen ground, called permafrost, is thawing, triggering massive changes to the region’s landscape and ecology. It could even threaten human lives.
“The last time we saw a permafrost melting was 130,000 years ago. It’s a natural phenomenon because of changes in the earth’s orbit,” said professor of earth sciences at the University of Oxford, Dr. Gideon Henderson.
“But what is definitely unprecedented is the rate of warming. 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.”