The continued thawing of Arctic permafrost is causing the accelerated release of previously-trapped methane deposits, as evidenced by both satellite imagery and findings made by field researchers in Siberia. Accumulated after having been produced by biological activity, these methane deposits have been frozen in the permafrost for millennia and are being released as the Arctic steadily warms due to climate change.
Satellite images of 200 thermokarst lakes found on the Yamal and Gydan peninsulas in Siberia have been found to have a bright blue coloring, as opposed to their usual dark hue. This is due to the release of methane from their lakebeds that cause them to "bubble like jacuzzis", according to The Siberian Times. A thermokarst lake forms when melting permafrost causes the land to settle into a depression, with the depression filling with meltwater.
Researchers on the ground are also investigating two odd phenomena that are caused by the accumulation of methane: one is in the form of large gas bubbles that form just under the surface, causing the ground to wobble like a waterbed when it is stepped on. The soil can be punctured to allow the gas to escape, deflating the affected area. Researchers with the Yamal Department for Science and Innovation have found approximately 7,000 of these bubbles, all of varying sizes, and ready to erupt from the ground, with some having the potential to do so with explosive force. “With time the bubble explodes, releasing gas. This is how gigantic funnels form,” according to department director Alexey Titovsky.
This brings us to the second phenomenon, that of the disturbing appearance of large craters that appear to have blasted outward from underground. These large craters also appear to be formed by methane deposits, but instead of leaking gradually into the atmosphere, they escape with enough force to dig large holes in the ground, such as the 60-meter (66-yard) crater found in Bovanenkovo in 2014.
Subscribers, to watch the subscriber version of the video, first log in then click on Dreamland Subscriber-Only Video Podcast link.