I haven’t noticed any bad sound: there were so many improvements compared to my $90 beginner’s violin that I decided I could live with the damage until the next upgrade. Also, I am certain that there are no openings. There is one abrasion that is similar to this one, but it is smaller and less noticeable. Other than that, I haven’t found a reason to trade it in other than a general better sound as I move up the price range.
I was also guessing that it was caused by humidity or lack thereof. My teacher noticed it one day and only warned that my violin wouldn’t last for years like hers has.
I will look into repair/appraisal. Thanks!