Four Gaint Mysterious Craters Found In Russia

Unexplained: The first of the new craters discovered, named B1 (pictured above), shows signs of an huge eruption of gas
Four new mysterious giant craters have appeared in the Siberian permafrost in northern Russia, sparking fears that global warming may be causing gas to erupt from underground.
Scientists spotted the new holes, along with dozens of other smaller ones, in the same area as three other enormous craters that were spotted on the Yamal Peninsula last year.
The craters are thought to be caused by eruptions of methane gas from the permafrost as rising rising temperatures causes the frozen soil to melt.

One of new craters, surrounded by at least 20 smaller holes, is just six miles from a major gas production plant.
Experts have predicted there could be up to 30 more are waiting to be discovered.
Scientsts, however, are still largely baffled by the exact processes causing the craters.
Professor
Vasily Bogoyavlensky, deputy director of the Moscow-based Oil and Gas
Research Institute, part of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has called
for ‘urgent’ investigation of the new phenomenon amid safety fears.

Until
now, the existence of only three Siberian craters had been established
when great caverns in the frozen landscape were spotted by passing
helicopter pilots.
‘We know now of seven craters in the Arctic area,’ Professor Bogoyavlensky told The Siberian Times.
‘Five
are directly on the Yamal peninsula, one in Yamal Autonomous district,
and one is on the north of the Krasnoyarsk region, near the Taimyr
peninsula.
‘We have exact locations for only four of them.
‘The other three were spotted by reindeer herders.
‘But I am sure that there are more craters on Yamal, we just need to search for them. I would compare this with mushrooms.
‘When you find one mushroom, be sure there are few more around. I suppose there could be 20 to 30 craters more.’
Two
of the newly-discovered large craters – also known as funnels to
scientists – have turned into lakes, revealed Professor Bogoyavlensky.
‘It is important not to scare people, but this is a very serious problem.
‘We must research this phenomenon urgently to prevent possible disasters.
We cannot rule out new gas emissions in the Arctic and in some cases they can ignite.’ 
Explosion? This crater (named B3) was spotted near to Antipayuta in the Yamal Peninsula after locals saw a flash of light nearby

Explosion? This crater (named B3) was spotted near to Antipayuta in the Yamal Peninsula after locals saw a flash of light nearby
This map shows the location of the new craters (labelled B1-4) along with the previously discovered holes marked with black dots

This map shows the location of the new craters (labelled B1-4) along with the previously discovered holes marked with black dots
The top satellite image shows an accumulation of ice beneath the surface, known as a pingo, while a more recent image shows a lake has formed in a crater scientists have called B2, surrounded by smaller holes

The top satellite image shows an
accumulation of ice beneath the surface, known as a pingo, while a more
recent image shows a lake has formed in a crater scientists have called
B2, surrounded by smaller holes
Professor Bogoyavlensky said that the parapet of the craters suggested an eruption of gas from a shallow underground reservoir. 
The
first hole was spotted in 2013 by helicopter pilots 20 miles from a gas
extraction plant at Bovanenkovo, on the Yamal Peninsula.
An
examination of the area using satellite images, comparing landscapes in
the past with the present day, has alerted Russian experts to the
prospect that the phenomenon is more widespread than first thought.
Abyss: This crater, called B1, was first spotted 18 miles (30 km) from the Bovanenkovo by passing helicopter pilots

Abyss: This crater, called B1, was first spotted 18 miles (30 km) from the Bovanenkovo by passing helicopter pilots
Simmering: Methane gas can be seen bubbling up out of this lake in the Yamal region and is thought to be an old crater

Simmering: Methane gas can be seen bubbling up out of this lake in the Yamal region and is thought to be an old crater
Experts
are particularly interested in a crater they have named B2, which just
six miles to the south of the Gazprom gas field at Bovanenkovo.
Old
satellite imagery shows no sign of craters at the site but more recent
images show there is now a lake there measuring about 5,000 square
metres.
The
lake is thought to have formed in a hole that is 100 metres by 50
metres in diametre and is surrounded by 20 smaller holes filled with
water that are around one to two metres wide.
Residents living near to another of the craters, close to Antipayuta on the Yamal Peninsula, reported seeing a flash of light.
This has led some to conclude that it was the result of gas trapped in the permafrost exploding.
Professor
Bogoyavlensky said: ‘We need to answer now the basic questions: what
areas, and under what conditions, are the most dangerous?

Last year scientists took a closer look at one of the older craters by climbing 54 feet down its frozen sides

Last year scientists took a closer look at one of the older craters by climbing 54 feet down its frozen sides
When this crater was discovered in 2014, theories ranged from a man-made hoax, to aliens or a meteorite

When this crater was discovered in 2014, theories ranged from a man-made hoax, to aliens or a meteorite
‘These questions are important for the safe operation of the northern cities and infrastructure of oil and gas complexes.’
There
is already scientific concern that Lake Baikal, the largest and oldest
freshwater lake in the world, but well outside the Arctic Circle, could
be at risk of similar gas explosions.
Scientists
have previously said there is growing evidence that rising temperatures
in the region could be the main catalyst triggering the blasts.
It is thought permafrost at the sites could have one million times more methane hydrates locked inside than ordinary gas. 
One expert estimated that the total explosive power of the craters has been the equivalent of about 11 tonnes of TNT.
Scientists are attempting to visit all of the craters, like above, to better understand how they were formed

Scientists are attempting to visit all of the craters, like above, to better understand how they were formed
In the winter the sides of the craters freeze, like above, making it easier for scientists to take samples

In the winter the sides of the craters freeze, like above, making it easier for scientists to take samples
There
are also two tectonic fault lines across the Yamal Peninsula, with
another possibility being that the blow-outs are caused by a deadly
combination of heat leaving these rifts, a higher than normal air
temperature, and the ‘fire ice’ melting.
Professor Bogoyavlensky revealed one picture of a Yamal lake showing signs of what he calls ‘degassing’.
‘This
haze that you see on the surface shows gas seeps from the bottom of the
lake to the surface,’ he said. ‘We call this process ‘degassing’.’
He is not sure if this lake, too, was previously a crater ‘or if the lake formed from another process.
‘More important is that the gases from within are actively seeping through this lake.’

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