Siberia is changing and experts are trying to understand why, and why so fast.
Recently, Russian scientists have found around 7,000 mysterious landforms in Siberia, leaving many experts baffled.
As experts explain, the gradual-rapid melting of permafrost in Siberia is making giant blow-out ‘hills’ to appear in the area, creating numerous problems as they pose a direct threat not only or life, but for roads and production facilities located in the area.
More than 150 geological features in the Yamal peninsula have been attributed to the blowout craters.
Scientists say that Siberian Blow-holes are created by pingos—large dome-shaped mounds formed over a core of ice. Aa the permafrost is melting, its explodes due to the build-up of methane gas underneath.
A “pingo”, also called a “hydrolaccolith”, is a mound of earth-covered ice found in the Arctic and subarctic that can reach up to 70 m in height and up to 600 m in diameter.
This video explains it:
What worries scientists is that they are not small. They are big. Relatively Big. Some of them are really deep and wide as researchers have managed blow-up craters measuring 50 meters deep and nearly 30 meters wide.
As the Siberian permafrost is melting, it’s causing the ground which was mainly solid rock to ‘bubble’ and tremble as trapped methane and carbon dioxide escape from the frozen ground.
“At first such a bump is a bubble or ‘bulgunyakh’ in the local Yakut language. With time the bubble explodes, releasing gas,” Alexey Titovsky, director of the Yamal department for science and innovation, told the Siberian Times. “This is how gigantic funnels form.”
“Scientists are working on detecting and structuring signs of potential threat,” he said, “like the maximum height of a bump and pressure that the earth can withstand.”
Quick-forming ravines and landslides have also been reported as the ground rich in Gas—which was normally stable—starts to change.
The results are worrying but the science is rather simple: the area has grown warmer over the last couple of decades, and the permafrost is rapidly melting.
This causes serious problems.
As the methane is a greenhouse gas, it drives temperatures higher and higher, which in turn causes more permafrost to melt, which in turn causes more methane to be released. It’s a terrifying cycle.
Pingos are not unique to Siberia, and examples can be found not only in America, but in other parts of Europe as well.