Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Huge New Methane Blowholes in Siberia Have Scientists Worried Climate Change Is to Blame

Climate

The large methane-filled blowholes that were discovered in Siberia last summer seem to be more numerous than originally thought, with four giant new craters, along with clusters of smaller ones, found in the permafrost in northern Russia. The new holes were discovered in the same general vicinity as the original three, on the Yamal Peninsula.

This map shows the locations of some of the craters scientists are discovering in Siberia. Image credit: Vasily Bogoyavlensky

"We know now of seven craters in the Arctic area," professor Vasily Bogoyavlensky of the Moscow-based Oil and Gas Research Institutes and the Russian Academy of Sciences told the Siberian Times. "Five are directly on the Yamal peninsula, one in Yamal Autonomous district, and one is on the north of the Krasnoyarsk region, near the Taimyr peninsula. We have exact locations for only four of them. The other three were spotted by reindeer herders. But I am sure that there are more craters on Yamal, we just need to search for them. I would compare this with mushrooms: when you find one mushroom, be sure there are few more around. I suppose there could be 20 to 30 craters more."

One of the first blowholes was discovered by helicopter. Image credit: Marya Zulinova, Yamal government press service

The cause of the blowholes is not entirely clear, although probable explanations have been coming into focus as Russian scientists have continued to study them. The most prominent theory is that exceptionally warm temperatures caused by climate change have released methane stored in the permafrost, causing a sort of explosion that creates the craters.

Bogoyavlensky says two of the craters have turned into lakes, as examination of satellite images has allowed scientists to learn more about them, their location and how numerous they are. It complements the exploration inside the craters undertaken late last year. Bogoyavlensky has urged further exploration but has warned about the risks involved, saying that leaking methane could cause new explosions at any time.

Satellite images reveal more craters than previously thought. Photo credit: Vasily Bogoyavlensky

"We know that there can occur a series of gas emissions over an extended period of time, but we do not know exactly when they might happen," he said. "For example, you all remember the magnificent shots of the Yamal crater in winter, made during the latest expedition in November 2014. But do you know that Vladimir Pushkarev, director of the Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration, was the first man in the world who went down the crater of gas emission? More than this, it was very risky, because no one could guarantee there would not be new emissions."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Methane Blow-Holes Sign of Runaway Climate Change?

Extraordinary Photos From Inside the Siberian Methane Blowhole

Russian Scientists: Global Warming Played Major Role in Siberian Craters

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Daniel Yetman

Bleach and vinegar are common household cleaners used to disinfect surfaces, cut through grime, and get rid of stains. Even though many people have both these cleaners in their homes, mixing them together is potentially dangerous and should be avoided.

Read More Show Less
During a protest action on May 30 in North Rhine-Westphalia, Datteln in front of the site of the Datteln 4 coal-fired power plant, Greenpeace activists projected the lettering: "Climate crisis - Made in Germany" onto the cooling tower. Guido Kirchner / picture alliance / Getty Images

Around 500 climate activists on Saturday gathered outside the new Datteln 4 coal power plant in Germany's Ruhr region, to protest against its opening.

Read More Show Less
Dr. Mark Brunswick (2R), Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Quality, walks through the lab at Sorrento Therapeutics in San Diego, California on May 22. ARIANA DREHSLER / AFP / Getty Images

By Julia Ries

Around the world, there have been several cases of people recovering from COVID-19 only to later test positive again and appear to have another infection.

Read More Show Less

By Samantha Hepburn

In the expansion of its iron ore mine in Western Pilbara, Rio Tinto blasted the Juukan Gorge 1 and 2 — Aboriginal rock shelters dating back 46,000 years. These sites had deep historical and cultural significance.

Read More Show Less
Meadow Lake wind farm in Indiana. Anthony / CC BY-ND 2.0

By Tara Lohan

The first official tallies are in: Coronavirus-related shutdowns helped slash daily global emissions of carbon dioxide by 14 percent in April. But the drop won't last, and experts estimate that annual emissions of the greenhouse gas are likely to fall only about 7 percent this year.

Read More Show Less
Andrey Nikitin / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Adrienne Santos-Longhurst

Plants are awesome. They brighten up your space and give you a living thing you can talk to when there are no humans in sight.

Turns out, having enough of the right plants can also add moisture (aka humidify) indoor air, which can have a ton of health benefits.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A bald eagle chick inside a nest in Rutland, Massachusetts. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
A bald eagle nest with eggs has been discovered in Cape Cod for the first time in 115 years, according to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (Mass Wildlife), as Newsweek reported.
Read More Show Less