More sinkholes have been spotted by satellite in Siberia, prompting calls for urgent research to confirm what’s caused them. One of the large craters, referred to as B2, is surrounded by 20 smaller craters, reported the Siberian Times.
‘I would compare this with mushrooms: when you find one mushroom, be sure there are few more around,” Professor Bogoyavlensky, deputy director of the Moscow-based Oil and Gas Research Institute, told the Siberian Times. “I suppose there could be 20 to 30 craters more.”
Researchers say the craters are likely formed after a gas explosion, but no one has seen what’s caused them — only the result. The crater researchers call B2 is located near one of Russia’s largest gas fields.
Last summer, scientists speculated that the craters formed after permafrost melted, collecting under the surface, followed by an explosion of methane gas. Some researchers expressed concern that climate change will make formation of the permafrost sinkholes more common.
“Years of experience has shown that gas emissions can cause serious damage to drilling rigs, oil and gas fields and offshore pipelines,” Bogoyavlensky said. “We cannot rule out new gas emissions in the Arctic and in some cases they can ignite.”