The accelerating thawing of permafrost reveals a series of holes in Siberia that spew toxic gases hundreds of meters above the ground.
A bang broke into the silence of the tundra last year. Methane gas emerged from the ground, spewing rocks and chunks of ice. After the explosion, a hole in Siberia that science could not explain, one more to the list of more than a dozen similar accidents, reported for more than five years.
In Siberia there are 16 more similar cases, which leave empty scars on the landscape floor. The Yamil and Gydia peninsulas in the Arctic they have witnessed this series of events that irreparably fragment the soil.
Science had no explanation for these violent explosions. Since 2013, when the first of all was registered, an attempt has been made to investigate its origin without much success. However, they have become increasingly notorious for the accelerated melting of permafrost, exposing the soil without ice.
A team of scientists in Moscow assures that the holes in Siberia are intimately related to climate change. Exceptionally well-preserved, the craters have yet to be filled with meltwater, allowing researchers to delve into their structure. Hydrocarbon Recovery Center of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology.
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Methane 15 meters underground
With the help of drones, Russian scientists have been able to enter the depths of the crater, which reach the 15 meters underground. In the underground cavity they found considerable amounts of methane, according to an article published in the journal Geosciences In the past week.
The robot managed to take about 80 images of the interior of the crater. From this, the scientists were able to recreate a model in 3D illustrating hole depth found (as shown above).
The material recovered by the drone showed unusual grottoes or caverns at the bottom of the crater. This evidence confirmed that methane gas accumulates in a cavity in the ice, causing a mound to appear at ground level. The mound grows in size before expel ice and other debris in a blast and leave the crate behindr.
Where does the gas from the explosions come from?
However, the researchers they still don’t know for sure where the methane gas comes from. One of the possibilities is that comes from the center of the Earth. On the other hand, it could originate from the surface, and seep underground somehow. Although both scenarios are possible, they are mere speculation.
Another factor that powerfully influences explosions, he explains Evgeny Chuvilin, Principal Research Scientist at the Center for Hydrocarbon Recovery at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow, it is the warming of the area in that time of year:
“This is the time of year when there is a lot of influx of solar energy, which causes the snow to melt and the upper layers of the ground to heat up, and that causes changes in their properties and behavior.”
These mysterious explosions are a threat to the original population that has settled in the vicinity. In addition, it represents a potential danger to wildlife that has built a habitat in the area: reindeer, elk and other wild animals they can lose their lives if these craters continue to erupt, for no apparent reason.
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