Global Warming in Siberia Causing Mysterious Mega Craters

Global Warming in Siberia Causing Mysterious Mega Craters

Is global warming to blame for giant sinkholes in Siberia?

Russian scientists are in a rush to find out what’s going on in Siberia, considered one of the youngest eco-systems on Earth, awash with gas reserves. Researcher Vasily Bogoyavlensky of the Russian Academy of Sciences is calling for an urgent investigation into what is causing methane gas explosions resulting in mega-craters. The bottom line is that warming temperatures due to global warming are melting permafrost.

According to a recent report on the issue:

“Until now, only three large craters were known about in northern Russia with several scientific sources speculating last year that heating from above the surface due to unusually warm climatic conditions, and from below, due to geological fault lines, led to a huge release of gas hydrates, so causing the formation of these craters in Arctic regions.

“Two of the newly-discovered large craters – also known as funnels to scientists – have turned into lakes… Examination using satellite images has helped Russian experts understand that the craters are more widespread than was first realised, with one large hole surrounded by as many as 20 mini-craters, The Siberian Times can reveal.”

The most likely cause isn’t alien spaceships crashing into this icy dessert, rather, it’s melting permafrost releasing noxious gases and forming giant craters due to global warming. The soil and rocks surrounding the craters look like there’s been a mega-explosion.

“The processes that are causing them to form likely occur over a wide area of the continuous permafrost in this part of Siberia,” Dr. Carolyn Ruppel, a research geophysicist at the Woods Hole Field Center in Massachusetts and chief of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Gas Hydrates Project said in the email to The Huffington Post. “Scientists should definitely conduct more research on these features to determine the processes that cause their formation, how they evolve with time, and whether it is possible to predict where new ones will occur.”

The newest crater is nearly 100 feet in diameter and scientists have spotted seven or so other such craters. Methane trapped beneath the surface in ice is melting and causing explosions. But scientists are concerned that the deserted land is hiding many more craters. One crater in particular has turned into a lake with 20 mini craters lining its rim. And though the crater is covered in water, it’s still leaking gas.

There are fears that as the temperatures rise the craters will continue to appear and though no one has been injured yet, the explosions are sizable.

“These objects need to be studied, but it is rather dangerous for the researchers,” Bogoyavlensky told the Siberian Times, reported in The Washington Post. “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. … It is very risky, because no one can guarantee there would not be new emissions.”

Related on EcoSalon

On the Front Lines of Global Climate Change and Women’s Rights

Is It Global Warming or Global Climate Change?

Berkeley Approves Global Warming Warning Labels At the Gas Pump

Image: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center