Scientist speculated that pingos may erupt and lead to the creation of craters – small lakes, thaw ponds. New satellite observations reveal continuous trend.

The Siberian Times article, Pingo in Arctic /

The trend from frozen tundra soils shifting to thermokarst erosion and thaw ponds, may in the future be exacerbated by increased rainfall and weather events.


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Satelittle Data Reveals Thousands of Arctic Bulges forming, with some erupting!

Scientist speculated that pingos may erupt and lead to the creation of craters – small lakes, thaw ponds.

Now the Siberian Times reported that satellite images show repeated eruptions at a water filled tundra hole.
While experts usually point to the thawing of permafrost, creating thermokarst erosion, and pingo in the process, and which may lead
to the creation of craters too, after methane buildup within these structures.

However, a new theory also suggest that natural gas exploitation might release underground methane and cause eruptive outbursts.

Professor Vasily Bogoyavlensky, deputy director of the Oil and Gas Research Institute in Moscow is quoted by the Times,

‘In December 2017, we discovered from space that in one of the craters flooded with water a new pingo appeared – and exploded.’
These are not volcanoes but there are similarities.
‘To some extent the mechanisms of volcanism apply here – pressure accumulates, and a release occurs.
‘Then the situation stabilises.
‘Part of the erupted rock falls to the bottom, and closes the degassing channels.
‘Then the pressure again builds up and at a certain moment there is another release.’

Only since a few years are scientist aware of these craters. Bogoyavlensky can not rule out that at least some crater fromation
may be related to leaks from natural gas production facilities, causing the formation of ‘gas pockets’ with subsequent eruptions.

However, the sites he studied proved to be from natural causes, after discovering biogenic methane, and with no gas wells nearby.

If these eruptions become more numerous they could pose a serious threat for the Arctic region, for infrastructure, people, and wild life.

Bogoyavlensky further noted, ‘Based on satellite data, we have marked 7,000 bulges (pingos) – or even more.’
‘It doesn’t mean that every pingo carries danger – but it is still clear that we can draw certain conclusions.’
He calls for more seismic stations to monitor for potential explosions close to gas pipelines or residential areas.

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