How to

22 March 2017

Abnormally Warm Weather Causes Bulging in Arctic as Methane Deposits Threaten to Explode

Img: East2West, Vasily Bogoyavlensky, Siberian Times 
Russia’s Yamal and Gydan peninsulas, located just within the Arctic Circle, have taken on a bizarre appearance of late, as scientists have discovered that presence of approximately 7,000 larges bulges in the ground, each filled with volatile methane gas.

Attributed to “abnormally warm” weather, according to Russian news agency TASS, the bulges appear as the permafrost which dominates the geography of the region begins to melt. This allows methane gas trapped far below the ground to ascend, causing large bubbles upon the surface before the eventually burst, resulting in the formation of large craters.

lexey Titovsky, director of the Yamal department for science and innovation, explains to The Siberian Times, “At first such a bump is a bubble. With time the bubble explodes, releasing gas. This is how gigantic funnels form.

“Scientists are working on detecting and structuring signs of potential threat, like the maximum height of a bump and pressure that the earth can withstand.”

Img: East2WestVasily BogoyavlenskySiberian Times
This isn’t the first time that this phenomenon has been observed in the area, as they were frequently observed throughout 2014 and 2016 as summer air temperatures climbed towards 35°C and the surrounding permafrost began to melt. However, the new estimated total of 7,000 gas deposits is worryingly high, and much more than previously thought.

The goal of experts now is to create a map of the locations of these gas deposits in order to limit their effect on energy supplies and transport routes, which those involved expect to be widespread and damaging without intervention. Many scientists are also launching expeditions in order to study the phenomenon up close and in greater detail.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.