Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageStrange Russian craters a sure sign the climate dragon is waking

By Karen Graham     Aug 7, 2014 in Environment
Scientists are calling the moments when methane gases erupt from the earth "dragon Burps," and the sleeping dragon is beginning to burp with greater frequency as climate scientists discover more blowholes in the Arctic north regions.
The Yamal Peninsula in northern Russia is so remote that the Nenets, local reindeer herders, call it "the end of the world." This area is rich in oil and gas fields, and is at the center of Vladimir Putin's rush to increase Russia's Arctic energy reserves.
In early July, helicopter pilots with a TV station run by the Russian Ministry of Defense discovered a vast crater in the barren landscape. At 50 to 80 meters across, it appeared to have been caused by a large explosion or possibly a meteor strike. After posting their video on YouTube, the "hole at the end of the world" went viral, getting millions of hits.
View of the first crater found on the Yamal Peninsula. It is now estimated to be about 98 feet in di...
View of the first crater found on the Yamal Peninsula. It is now estimated to be about 98 feet in diameter.
InterestingLatestnews
The world viewed the video of the mysterious crater, and opinions were numerous and often extreme as to its origins. Descriptive words abounded, "baffled," "mystified," and "mysterious," to name a few. There was even talk of aliens landing, or a massive "cover-up" of some sort. In the end, climate scientists who traveled to the site have now decided it is methane gas.
A senior researcher with the Scientific Research Center of the Arctic, Andrei Plekhanov, speaking with the Associated Press said the crater is likely caused by a "buildup of excessive pressure" underground caused by warming regional temperatures in the area. Unusually high levels of methane were recorded by Plekhanov's team near the bottom of the sinkhole.
By July 29, two more of the massive holes were discovered, this time by reindeer herders, one, near the original crater in the Yamal peninsula, and one crater hundreds of kilometers away to the east in the Taymyr Peninsula.
The second crater found at the end of July on the Yamal  Peninsula has been measured at 49 feet in d...
The second crater found at the end of July on the Yamal Peninsula has been measured at 49 feet in diameter.
InterestingLatestnews
The Institute of the Earth's Cryosphere, with the Russian Academy of Science has been studying the first hole found, and they now estimate its depth to be 70 meters deep since July 16. Chief scientist, Marina Leibman, told URA.RU: “I have heard about the second funnel on Yamal, in Taz district, and saw the pictures. Undoubtedly, we need to study all such formations. It is necessary to be able to predict their occurrence. Each new funnel provides additional information for scientists.”
The third crater  discovered on the Taymyr Peninsula several hundred kilometers to the east of the Y...
The third crater, discovered on the Taymyr Peninsula several hundred kilometers to the east of the Yamal Peninsula, looks more like a funnel.
InterestingLatestnews
Epicenter for global warming
Scientists have said for many years that the epicenter of global warming will be found in the far-northern reaches of the globe. Gas has been seeping out of the regions permafrost for the past 10,000 years, since the last ice-age. That slow seepage has changed in the last 60 years or so as the earth began to warm.
With the warming of the earth has come the thawing of the permafrost, resulting in an increased release of methane gas. Methane is 21 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, and that may cause a problem. Scientists estimate there is 1.5 trillion tons of carbon in methane form locked in the permafrost, calling it a "time-bomb" ready to explode. (See Digital Journal article).
Climate scientists point to the unusually hot summers experienced in the Yamal region in 2012-2013, which were warmer by an average of five degrees Celsius. “As temperatures rose, the researchers suggest, permafrost thawed and collapsed, releasing methane that had been trapped in the icy ground,” according to an article in Nature. The big concern to scientists is the oil fields, about 30 kilometers away from the blow holes. If more of the holes were to explode near the oil fields, it would lead to a serious environmental accident.
The Yamal Peninsula juts out into huge oil and gas fields claimed by the Russian Federation. A large...
The Yamal Peninsula juts out into huge oil and gas fields claimed by the Russian Federation. A large oil rig is about 30 km from the first methane crater found in early July, 2014.
NASA Images
Climate scientists are contending that the thawing of the terrain would release horrendous amounts of methane gas, affecting global temperatures. “Pound for pound, the comparative impact of [methane gas] on climate change is over 20 times greater than [carbon dioxide] over a 100-year period,” reported the Environmental Protection Agency. If this is indeed the case, then the sleeping dragon is stirring, possibly waking to wreck havoc on the globe.
More about Tussia, methane levels, permafrost thaw, climate scientists, melting ice
More news from
Latest News
Top News