Numerous newly discovered massive craters across Siberia—believed to have been formed by methane gas exploding through a thawing permafrost—may be the latest visible signs that climate change is here, and it’s changing the very contours of the earth’s surface.
A 100-foot crater was first spotted last summer in Yamal peninsula, a freezing cold land 2,000 miles north of Moscow, and two other funnels were discovered soon after.
While it is not entirely clear what caused the blowholes, the dominant theory, as summarized byWashington Post writer Terrence McCoy, is: “Global warming had thawed the permafrost, which had caused methane trapped inside the icy ground to explode.”
In a new development, the Siberian Times reported this week that such funnels, in fact, are “more widespread than was first realized.”
“We know now of seven craters in the Arctic area,” Professor Vasily Bogoyavlensky, deputy director of the Moscow-based Oil and Gas Research Institute, part of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told the paper. “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.”