New craters have been spotter by satellite, prompting calls for urgent research to confirm what’s caused them.
According to Sibera Times, one of the large craters, referred to as B2, is surrounded by 20 smaller craters, reported the Siberian Times.
‘I would compare this with mushrooms: when you find one mushroom, be sure there are few more around,” Professor Bogoyavlensky, deputy director of the Moscow-based Oil and Gas Research Institute, told the Times. “I suppose there could be 20 to 30 craters more.”
Two of the newly-discovered large craters – also known as funnels to scientists – have turned into lakes, revealed Professor Bogoyavlensk.
With the help of of satellite images, Russian scientiests can see for the first time just how widespread the Sibera craters are.
‘We know now of seven craters in the Arctic area,’ he said. ‘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.’
It is suspected that the craters are likely formed after a gas explosion, but no one has seen what’s caused them — only the result. The crater researchers call B2 is located near one of Russia’s largest gas fields.
Last summer, scientists speculated that the craters formed after permafrost melted, collecting under the surface, followed by an explosion of methane gas. Some researchers expressed concern that climate change will make formation of the permafrost sinkholes more common.
“Years of experience has shown that gas emissions can cause serious damage to drilling rigs, oil and gas fields and offshore pipelines,” Bogoyavlensky said. “We cannot rule out new gas emissions in the Arctic and in some cases they can ignite.
Dr. Carolyn Ruppel, a research geophysicist at the Woods Hole Field Center in Massachusetts, told the HUff Post:
“The processes that are causing them to form likely occur over a wide area of the continuous permafrost in this part of Siberia,” she said in the email. “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.”
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