The vortex is capable of disintegrating virtually anything it touches, including living tissue. The Tok'ra funeral custom has the dead dissolved by an activating Stargate (to dispose of the body with no trace of them ever existing on a particular planet to be found by the Goa'uld). It was believed to allow travel "backwards" through a Stargate by a group in a prison planet, but this is known to be false. This was later used by Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell and Teal'c to destroy the Ancient Long-range communication device when they couldn't figure out another way to do it safely. (SG1: "Allegiance", "Origin")
The Supergate, built by the Ori, also creates a vortex, but at a much greater intensity because of the vastly greater amount of energy transferred into the Supergate. Thus far, it is one of the few things known to overwhelm the shields on an Ori warship, another being the Asgard plasma beam weapons. (SG1: "The Pegasus Project", "Unending")
The Asgard auto-dialer is capable of dialing a Stargate while preventing a vortex from forming. Ascended beings also possess this ability with their mind. The Nox also possess a similar technology to the Asgard. (SG1: "The Nox", "1969", "Small Victories")
When Atlantis was infiltrated by Michael Kenmore, the unstable vortex was used to destroy most of his Puddle Jumper (some of it was out of reach of the vortex). Dr. Radek Zelenka lowered Atlantis' Stargate shield, allowing Dr. Rodney McKay to dial the Stargate from another Puddle Jumper outside. With Michael's Jumper parked right in front of the Gate, the unstable wormhole disintegrated most of it. (SGA: "The Prodigal")
Behind the scenes
- In Stargate Infinity, the vortex does not dissolve whatever it touches.
- In the original movie, when the vortex returned to the gate, it inverted into a whirlpool-like form with a small trail leading from it. Roland Emmerich nicknamed this effect "strudel", after the German word for an effect like this. This was never demonstrated in the television series or films that followed, though a similar effect was seen in "A Matter of Time" due to the gravitational effects of a black hole.