The indigenous reindeer herding Nenets people, who reside in the Yamal region of Siberia, alerted local media of two recent explosions in their remote and empty permafrost landscape. The Nenets reported what is believed to be methane explosions where they saw “fire in winter 2017, but it might mean January to March or April. In other words, it exploded when snow was still lying.”
The second explosion was documented on June 28, 2017. “The second bang was so loud it was picked up by seismic stations located in neighboring settlements and near a local gas field. The new hole is approximately eight meters (26 feet) in diameter and at least 20 meters (65 feet) deep.” reports IFL Science.
Due to the explosive circumstances, the local scientists are treating this as a methane gas explosion. Many regions of the Arctic have methane locked within their permafrost. The thawing of this permafrost - often from natural cases, sometimes by exacerbated human-made process - causes this gas to “seep out.” If underground, it can cause a pressure build-up and eventually result in a pop and a bang. In this instance, it isn't clear how the fire was involved, although is methane is flammable.
The Barents Observer reports:
These kinds of explosions have been previously documented in Siberia and elsewhere in the Arctic tip of the world. A recent study in the journal Science showed how portions of the Arctic seafloor is caked in craters caused by methane explosions.
The release of this methane is not just dangerous due to these hard-to-predict explosive tendencies. The release of this methane is also believed to have a dramatic effect on climate change. After all, just like carbon dioxide, it is a greenhouse gas.
The Siberian Times has jaw dropping pictures of these craters.
The account of an exploding hill is consistent with the scientific theory that sees the craters as mainly - but not only - formed by exploding pingo mounds.
Helicopter reconnaissance of the site shows a crater appearing in a river, so it assumed the 'hill' was beside or abutting the river.
The crater is some 30-35 kilometres is around 100 km of Russia's new state-of-the-art Arctic port of Sabetta.
It is in an area of crater-shaped lakes.
The below methane clip is from Yale Climate Connections.
One of the most feared of climate change "feedbacks" is the potential release of greenhouse gases by melting arctic permafrost soils. New research indicates a critical threshold of that feedback effect could be closer than we once thought.