Methane Gas Blowing Massive Holes Through Earth's Crust
Huge craters are being punched out of the Earth's crust from below — by huge explosions. Scientists suspect that global warming is the culprit.
YAMAL PENINSULA, RUSSIA — These huge craters were punched out of the Earth's crust from below — by huge explosions. Scientists suspect that global warming might be the culprit. Here are the details:
The flatlands of the Siberian tundra were shaken by a violent and powerful explosion that blew out a huge crater thirty meters deep.
CNN reports that this explosion last year was the 17th blowout crater to appear in Russia's remote Yamal and Gyda arctic peninsulas, since the first was spotted in 2013.
The new crater also offered the first opportunity for scientists to use drones to build a 3D model of the crater.
The 3D model largely confirmed what scientists had hypothesized: Methane gas builds in a cavity in the ice, causing a mound to appear at ground level.
The mound grows in size before blowing out ice and other debris in an explosion, leaving behind a massive crater.
What's still unclear is the source of the methane. It could be coming from layers deep within the Earth, or closer to the surface — or a combination of the two.
Scientists believe that the frozen earth of Sibaria's tundra acted as a plug that kept the methane trapped.
As the region warms up and the permafrost melts for the first time in recorded history, it's expected that methane blowouts would become more frequent.
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