“Potentially they can have serious climate consequences, but we need more study before we can confirm that.”. Igor Semiletov, chief scientist onboard the Akademik M. Keldysh research vessel that’s part of a multi-year Russian-Swedish International Siberian Shelf Study expedition, The discovery is prompting concerns that a new feedback loop that accelerates climate change may have already been triggered. contributing to the greenhouse effect in Earth's atmosphere. The scientists stressed that their findings are considered preliminary until they analyze the data collected on the ground and have their studies peer-reviewed. I'm a freelance geologist working mostly in the Eastern Alps. In summer 2020, the Yamal peninsula crater was formed by greenhouse gases violently erupting from ... [+] the melting permafrost soil. Following another summer with record-breaking temperatures, this time over 37°C, the latest crater was spotted by a TV crew flying overhead for work on an unrelated project and was subsequently investigated by a team of researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences. The major side effect of a thawing permafrost is that it will further enhance global warming with the release of large quantities of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. This methane is trapped underground, forming pockets of flammable gas. Warming and thawing of surface soil weakens the frozen cap, resulting in the blowout and explosion that causes the craters. Our exclusives and on-the-ground reporting are being read and shared by many high-profile journalists. © 2020 Forbes Media LLC. The summer of 2016 was extraordinarily hot, with temperatures reaching as high as 35°C. A different hole was also spotted in the Yamal peninsula in northwest Russia and was linked to melting permafrost causing methane to build up under the surface and a subsequent explosion… Researchers believe that the craters are formed when long-frozen earth known as permafrost begins to melt and release trapped methane gas, according to Popular Mechanics. In the underground pockets the concentration of greenhouse gases, like methane and carbon-dioxide, is almost 1,000 times higher than in the surrounding environment. The region's rate of warming is surpassing current climate models, fueling heat waves and sea ice melt. The discovery of actively releasing shelf slope hydrates is very important and unknown until now. Please consider making a donation to The Moscow Times to help us continue covering this historic time in the world’s largest country. “This East Siberian slope methane hydrate system has been perturbed and the process will be ongoing.”. that the loop could be activated if the Arctic warms by just a few degrees. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. It is by far the largest in terms of both depth (31 meters or 102 feet) and diameter. The permafrost contains organic matter, and thawing will enable bacterial decomposition that will release methane as a byproduct of anaerobic respiration. Scientists fear that this mechanism could become a self-reinforcing process. This is a new page,” said Igor Semiletov, chief scientist onboard the Akademik M. Keldysh research vessel that’s part of a multi-year Russian-Swedish International Siberian Shelf Study expedition. But geology is more than a historic or local science, as geological forces shaped and still influence history worldwide. Large areas of Siberia are formed by permafrost, perennially frozen ground. Scientists voiced concern that greenhouse gas emissions from melting permafrost and the Arctic seafloor could accelerate climate change. Possible explanations for the craters included sinkholes or even impacts of small meteorites. Climate data from Siberia show an increase of average temperatures in the last decade. A new source of methane discharge has been discovered in the Arctic Ocean near eastern Siberia, raising concerns of a “new tipping point” that could speed up the pace of global warming, The Guardian. I graduated in 2007 with a project studying how permafrost, that´s frozen soil, is reacting to the more visible recent changes of the alpine environment. Scientists found the potent greenhouse gas bubbling from a depth of 350 meters in the Laptev Sea, with surface-level concentrations that vent into the atmosphere between four and eight times the normal amount. Many seem to be filled with peated water, and the locals refer to them as "black holes." Scientists now think that the craters are caused by the build-up of methane gas in pockets of thawing permafrost under the surface. New giant 50-metre deep crater found in Yamal peninsula, Russia. Later, a crater with a diameter of 7 meters (25 ft) and almost 20 meters (65 ft) deep, surrounded by blocks and chunks of ice and soil, was discovered at the supposed explosion site. Methane can derive from inorganic sources, the Yamal peninsula is Russia’s largest natural gas field, or organic processes, as a waste product of microorganisms living in the soil. The current record high temperature north of the Arctic Circle was set in Fort Yukon, Alaska, in 1915. Huge explosion leaves crater 165ft deep in Arctic tundra following record hot summer. The Guardian reported that warm Atlantic currents driven by human-induced climate disruption are the likely cause of the massive methane discharge. “The discovery of actively releasing shelf slope hydrates is very important and unknown until now. “At this moment, there is unlikely to be any major impact on global warming, but the point is that this process has now been triggered,” Swedish scientist and study co-author Örjan Gustafsson told The Guardian from the vessel. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as any other place on Earth and The Guardian reported that it is yet to begin freezing for the winter, already surpassing records for the latest date for sea ice formation after melting unusually early this spring. Studying therefore old maps, photographs and reports, I became interested in the history of geology and how early geologists figured out how earth works, blogging about it in my spare time. In 2016, scientists had reported only fifteen of such mounds. A survey in 2017 found more than 7,000 mounds dotting the Siberian tundra, likely formed by pockets of methane and other gases pushing up the soil and vegetation. Living in one of the classic areas of early geological research, I combine field trips with the historic maps, figures and research done there. 3:51 Earth & environment. The problem with methane . When the bubble explodes it not only poses a danger to bystanders, it releases the trapped gases into Earth's atmosphere.

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