LOOK: 7,000 Mysterious Methane Bubbles Formed Underground in Siberia Could Explode Anytime
Strange methane-filled bumps have appeared in the expanse of Siberia's Yamal and Gydan peninsulas, triggering some concern about its potential explosions. These strange methane bubbles are soft under the feet, jiggling like a water bed when disturbed.
According to a report from TASS via The Siberian Times, around 7,000 of these methane bubbles have recently been uncovered throughout the region. While there have been no formal or peer-reviewed conclusion on the origins of these methane bubbles yet, scientists believe that they formed when pingos exploded.
Pingos are soil-covered domes with an icy core, often found in permafrost areas.
"At first such a bump is a bubble, or 'bulgunyakh' in the local Yakut language," Alexey Titovsky, director of Yamal department for science and innovation, explained. "With time the bubble explodes, releasing gas. This is how gigantic funnels form."
Scientists believe that the massive funnels or craters found throughout Siberia were formed from pingos when eruptions occur from methane being released with the thawing of the permafrost. With the climate change heating up the landscape, the permafrost is thawing more rapidly, making it more likely for explosions to take place.
During an investigation of methane bubbles in Bely Island, researchers discovered that the greenhouse gases in these pockets are excessive compared to average levels in the atmosphere. Methane content were recorded at 1,000 times the normal level, while carbon dioxide were 25 times over the normal level.
Very large craters throughout the country are now being attributed by experts to explosions of methane gas released by the rising temperateures.
"We need to know which bumps are dangerous and which are not," Titovsky explained. "Scientists are working on detecting and structuring signs of potential threat, like the maximum height of a bump and pressure that the earth can withstand. Work will continue all through 2017."