Within the past month, scientists have been informed about massive craters which have formed in the permafrost of Yamal, Siberia. One of these craters measures an astounding 30 meters wide, while another although only half as wide has small lake at the bottom. These craters inspire awe in the observer. Looking down it must seem that they might go on forever, to the center of the Earth. Imaginations run wild in coming up with theories as to how these holes were created. I am sure a few people are postulating end of world scenarios. A formation that could reach the center of the Earth could create havoc with the magnetic poles in the core changing our orbit and possibly throwing us into an immediate ice age. [I do believe that idea was proposed by Hollywood at least once 😉 ] Aliens could have been buried with their spaceships for eons waiting for the right time to emerge and take over our planet 😯 . [Proposed also on the big screen at least once; or mayhapse twice?] Rogue meterorites hitting the earth have also been suggested but to create holes as large as the Siberian craters, you would think that the meterorites would have been noticed. Missile strikes have also been proposed but again, logic suggests they would have been seen by someone.
Siberian Crater: Reasonable Theory of Origin
A less far-fetched theory has been proposed for these Siberian craters. It is backed up by at least one apparent group of witnesses. On September 27, 2013, some locals of Yamal saw smoking ground followed by a huge flash of light. Proponents of global warming have proposed that melting permafrost released a burst of trapped methane. This view is supported by the unusually hot summers in Yamal in 2012 and 2013 which were about 5ºC higher than normal. Compounded by permafrost temperatures over the last 20 years that were 2ºC warmer than usual and conditions are ripe for the release of trapped methane.
Siberia is known for the formation of gas hydrates which are large deposits of methane trapped in ice. At certain temperatures, the methane stays frozen and stable. However, temperature increases seen over the last number of years are melting the permafrost and potentially causing the methane to destabilize and be ejected as a gas. Most of these gas hydrates occur at 100 meters or more in depth. It is unknown how deep these craters are but even those filled with water could be hundreds of feet deep.
Climate warming does not appear to be slowing down. Permafrost will continue to melt and likely more of these craters will make an appearance. It is possible that human lives will be impacted if these methane eruptions occur close to a village or industry such as the Bovanenkovskoye gas field only 30 km away.
Liesowska, Anna. Foreign scientists welcome to join research into Siberia’s mysterious giant holes. August 3, 2014. The Siberian Times. August 6 2014.
Moskvitch, Katia. Mysterious Siberian crater attributed to methane. July 31, 2014. Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science. August 6 2014.
[otw_shortcode_info_box border_type=”border-top-bottom” border_style=”bordered” icon_type=”general foundicon-heart” border_color=”#ff964a” icon_color=”#ffce78″]Siberian craters are an interesting phenomenon perhaps related to recent climate changes which have altered the stability of the permafrost. Many changes will likely be forth-coming, some predictable others like these craters, a little bit scary but awe-inspiring. What do you think? Are these craters the product of alien invasion? meteorites? secret missile launches or perhaps they are an end of world sign? Could they be as mundane as methane erupting due to melting permafrost? Leave your thoughts in the comments below![/otw_shortcode_info_box]