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morganism

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Adam Ash

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Jim Hunt

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2014, 12:23:37 PM »
See also:

http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,416.msg31390.html#msg31390

et seq. They got a new video too:



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A-Team

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2014, 03:07:35 PM »
The Siberian Times has excellent coverage again with another couple dozen photographs. Looking at the vegetation growing in and on the rim mud (no rocks here) --  considering the six week growing season -- it is abundantly clear that the bog huckleberry is not new growth but has been present the whole time.

Thus this was not a high energy event and even moderate heat was never in the picture. Nothing has burned: the darkening of the walls is simply air oxidation of iron and mangenese present in the reduced state in the anaerobic subsurface permafrost, which lines and melts into this drained thermokarst lake. You would see exactly the same thing in any soil pit in waterlogged soil in the US.

You can clearly see extensive drainage channels on the eroded and largely collapsed parapet. This may have just been a 20 m frost heave mound (pingo) with high ice content with surface soil left behind as the ice melted and drained, not even burped-up mud from periodic over-pressurization of melt water.

The volume of mud is not 10% of the volume of the hole. We see meltwater and permafrost icefall at the bottom increasing the size of the cavity. It's not done enlarging yet.

Thus the only thing of interest here is the water table and its drainage. It seems too low for such a soggy landscape. The feature is more or less unique; adjacent thermokarst lakes are not draining at this point. We do not yet know the depth of the water at the bottom.

There may not be drainage at all but simply rather gradual volume loss to volatile gases that escaped upon matrix phase change to liquid. So I expect them to melt a 100 m drill core to see what volume of water, soil and decayed veg is left after the volatile gases have evaporated.

We assume this is primarily methane of biogenic origin but carbon dioxide may also be a significant component. However ethane, propane and butane would indicate natural gas resulting from geochemical processes at great depth.

The name of this peninsula is correctly translated as Land's End. We have dozens of identically named features in the US and one of them houses a well-known mail order store of the same name.

It is a cheap shot to call it End of the Earth with that baggage of sensationalistic, catastrophic implications -- that is utterly missing in the original.

http://siberiantimes.com/science/casestudy/news/first-pictures-from-inside-the-crater-at-the-end-of-the-world/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermokarst

A-Team

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2014, 07:30:06 PM »
Since the diameter of the feature is ~ 60 m, that would amount to 2x2=4 pixels on 30 m Landsat. Thus a waste of time except for overview of surroundings. Google would have a very much higher resolution image from digiglobe, if they bothered with coverage of this remote site.

However as I explained earlier, the thing to do is retrieve the high resolution image history at Google Earth. (Of course the Russians would be looking at their own 1 m KLH imagery which has been sold for decades.) What I expect to see there is the feature is 1-2 years old. Permafrost melted, possibly forming a visible lake. That melted the frozen ground underneath.

Come winter, the top 1-2 meters froze solid. The liquid water continued to melt its way downward. Gases came out of solution but could not escape due to the ice cap. (Alternatively, a deeper underground gas seep was able to migrate upward through water or softer ice.)

Come spring, the ice cap softened enough that the gas pressure underneath was enough to blow it off, along with a bit of water, ice and top soil. Nothing ignited, this was not an explosion, just taking a warm champagne bottle shaken until the cork flies off.

The most intriguing comment has been from the Russians, saying academic papers from the '80's dated similar nearby thermokarst lakes, all to 8,000 years ago (Holocene warming episode), apparently attributing them to the same mechanism. If so, we may be entering this regime again, though one swallow does not make a summer.

This predicts the walls will continue to collapse for a while as the crater walls are now exposed ice. There being no underground drainage, the crater will widen and fill up with water, ending up looking just like the adjacent lakes.

The whole ridge may be in effect a giant frost heave, predicting that new craters will occur along the ridgeline plateau.

I could not make any sense out of this geologist talking about salt. This is freshwater ice, never mind if it has been submerged at some point. There is nothing in there that could ignite methane or peat, certainly not nitrate or sulfate. Methane cannot oxidize without something else being reduced.



Xulonn

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2014, 08:38:52 PM »
Excellent posts, A-Team.  Logical and science-based - unlike the sensationalist crap I've read elsewhere.  Also appreciate the heads-up on the name translation - lands' end makes sense.

The biggest takeaway for me is that this phenomena may have not been common in recent times, but was more common in previous warmer periods.  I'm sure there will be some interesting research and papers published on these landscape features in the next few years.

A-Team

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2014, 11:22:52 PM »
Next someone is going to ask about megatonnes of methane clathrate and what about rapid consumption ('burning') of methane (~10 year half-life) in the upper atmosphere by hydroxyl radical. These topics have been discussed many times in other forums.

The near-surface pressures here seem way outside the clathrate stability zone which require several hundred m water pressure equivalents.  Singlet oxygen formation (for hydroxyl radical) requires very short wavelength UV almost none of which reaches the surface. Ozone is equally implausible at this site. Methane in air only becomes an explosive mix at only at ~10% level, a lot. Methane maxes out its solubility in water at ~30 mg/l, relatively little.

I don't know how much non-clathrate methane dirty ice might hold. There are some prospects for a resurgence of de novo methane generation by archaea in cold dark melt water. At some point, the methane would come out of solution as a (pressurized) gas that would bubble up rapidly to the surface if it could, vaguely similar to mud pots at Yellowstone.

Methane bubbles expand with decreasing pressure along ideal gas law lines. If it were confined by a frozen ice cap above, the gas pressure rises until the tensile strength of the cap is exceeded and the methane vented abruptly, vaguely similar to magma and rising CO2 under Mt St Helens.

This blog is very familiar with the high-end airborne methane monitors the Russians operate out of 'nearby' Tiksi; these clever suitcases are additionally capable of real-time determination the carbon's isotopic composition (and thus origin: biogenic are depleted vs geochemical). So it should not take too long to see some data on the air in the crater.

http://hilo.hawaii.edu/academics/hohonu/documents/vol07x10howaremethanehydratesformed....pdf
http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2006/3011/
http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2005/1451/tables_and_graphs.html

morganism

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2014, 11:47:37 PM »
Excellent and informative.

Looks just like HiRise images from Mars, as the permafrost melts out from the sides of the hole.


Are you aware of any other locations that may have had same geo, but with a thin overlay of high Fe or magnetite , from some type of erosion, debris flow, or volcanism event ?
Could also be a true karst in firn or glacial ice.

Have been thinking would be a fab place to see if there are also analogs to the "blueberries" found by Oppy on Mars...

A karst formation collapsing might cause the overlying material to "ball up" as it rolled down the incline, building up layers of different compositions as if rolls further down.

johnm33

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2014, 12:46:33 PM »
A little speculation having had a good look at Jim's video. The walls have the appearance of melting ice, dirty ice, and if that's the case then it's no wonder the pools nearby are not draining. The consistent ripples in the bottom water, could be just drips or signs of flow. The mass loss also suggests drainage, how big would a lake sitting on bedrock have to be to accommodate that kind of volume loss? 

Anne

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2014, 10:41:07 PM »
Anyone know anything more about the second, smaller hole found 30km away by reindeer herders, as reported in today's Moscow Times?  It's surely not entirely surprising that if there is one, there will be more...

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/mystery-of-giant-hole-in-siberia-unraveling-with-2nd-discovery/503858.html

johnm33

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2014, 01:38:09 AM »
It's interesting that the depth of the first hole is estimated at 70m whilst the peninsular doesn't get more than 50m above sea level.

AbruptSLR

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2014, 12:49:50 AM »
The linked article discusses Jason Box's concern that these hole/blowouts are venting methane into the atmosphere (see also attached methane plots with "outliers" possibly due to methane outbursts):

http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/are-siberias-methane-blowholes-the-first-warning-sign-of-unstoppable-climate-change/story-fnjwvztl-1227006746397
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Steve Bloom

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2014, 07:43:03 AM »
The hole connection was the reporter's idea.  Jason's tweet just now says: "News piece juxtaposes Siberian holes with my carbon release concerns but I have no idea about the holes."  Lots of other errors in the article, notably the PETM stuff.

Adam Ash

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2014, 12:29:21 PM »
...It's surely not entirely surprising that if there is one, there will be more...

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/mystery-of-giant-hole-in-siberia-unraveling-with-2nd-discovery/503858.html


Yup, Google shows many.  They generally lie along what looks like stream lines in the terrain, suggesting some underlying cause/effect, but which came first is unclear.

At
  71.787536°   72.113329°  (Copy paste into GE)
you can see evidence of a steep side slope complete with a mounded edge (which snow has heaped up against), and at
  71.171112°   71.360918°
an example showing a sloping inside then a vanishignly deep centre...

  70.968751°   70.349530°
Fresh debris around the crater rim.  750m diameter.  Cloudy disturbed water in the pool so still gassing?

  69.698662°   69.536169°
Fresh debris around the crater rim.  650m diameter.  Clear water so gassing ceased?
 
The volume of debris outside the holes looks to be a lot less than the total volume of the pit, so clearly there has to be a mechanism for removing the earth or whatever that supported the previous ground surface.  If the area is comprised of permafrost / ice with a thin top layer of falling dust entrained within a slow growing surface micro-flora (a few millennia would see that accumulation resemble topsoil) then the missing material is/was simply ice which has flowed or sublimated away.. .

It would be interesting to core the various layers - the top ice layer (which may be loosing tensile strength due to surface warming) the next layer down (which maybe the methane store) and lower layers where there appear to be caverns/tunnels stretching along the axis of the surface features, probably carrying melt water at the natural ground water level, just a bit above sea level if its porous enough to be connected to the ocean, as most aquifers eventually are.

The tunnels may also provide a way for warmer ocean waters to reach underground and heat the  area from beneath (combination of some sea level rise, with tidal pumping etc).  Salt water intrusion into coastal aquifers is not unknown. 

Interesting...   Another canary in the coal mine?  I wonder.   

AbruptSLR

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2014, 04:35:57 PM »
The hole connection was the reporter's idea.  Jason's tweet just now says: "News piece juxtaposes Siberian holes with my carbon release concerns but I have no idea about the holes."  Lots of other errors in the article, notably the PETM stuff.

Steve,

Thanks for the correction on Jason Box's true concerns (which are not focused on the Siberian holes).  I almost did not provide the link to this website, but the reporter's juxtapositions got the better of me.

Best,
ASLR
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Colorado Bob

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2014, 11:07:26 PM »
The Arctic Methane Monster Exhales: Third Tundra Crater Found

[urlhttp://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/the-arctic-methane-monster-exhales-third-tundra-crater-found/#comment-19189][/url]

Xulonn

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2014, 12:39:46 AM »
I'm seeing a lot of hype and hysteria attached to the Siberian Tundra holes, particularly from some blogs written by non-scientists.  Many of the comments at some of these blogs sound truly hysterical and not at all grounded in logical, scientific reasoning.  People are running off with all kinds of hypotheses based on superficial examination of holes and seem to be assuming that methane "explosions" created them. 

Were there "blowouts" of burst-type ventings of methane gas during sudden events that caused the huge "WTF" anomalous peaks in Dr.Box's graphs?  Or are there other explanations?  I haven't a clue!

The fact that Jason Box's general comments about methane issues was jumbled in with the story of the holes seems to me to be really bad journalism, which also makes me skeptical about the all hype and unconfirmed conclusions in some of the links in this thread

I thought that A-team's comments in this thread on the geology of the holes and a likely burp or what other's have suggested could be a process related to some components of pingo-building activity seemed to be reasonable alternative hypotheses.  This would obviously include some drainage and melting of permafrost in the sides of the holes, or they would be water filled lakes like the other round-hole lakes in the region.  If there were explosions, it would seem that the topsoil component of the ejects would be blown away and scattered, and not mounded around the hole with years-old tundra plants growing on it. 

A-Team's suggestion that the dark sides of the holes were possibly manganese or other oxides, and that the years-old slow-growing plants on the shoved out earth bumps around the perimeter indicates a longer creation/event process, also makes sense to me.  There is not sufficient ejecta visible to account for the volume of the holes, although ice would be ejected and melt.  Of course, all speculation on the possible mechanisms and processes that formed these holes are still at best, only hypotheses. 

I am aware that that methane could be an AGW/CC trigger event, but that is what the 80 scientists and technicians are working on as part of the SWERUS-C3 American/Russian/Swedish expedition aboard the Swedish icebreaker Oden.  Perhaps there will be soon be comprehensive expeditions to study the holes in detail. 

Speculation is part of human nature, and I do it myself.  But there are far to many variables and possibilities at this point in time to draw any conclusions about the tundra/permafrost holes.     

Gray-Wolf

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2014, 11:52:07 AM »
Maybe we also need to remember the 'chimney' features that were logged off the Siberian coast and their rapid growth over the year between observations?

For them (chimneys) growth from tens of metres to a km took only 1 year and so we see another 'natural' feature showing similar growth rates to those suggested for the holes?

I do not know if I am correct but think that the permafrost layer that both these features are in is one and the same? If so then could the land now be showing a similar deformation process to the submerged areas? With the submerged areas being warmed by water year round I would expect a faster development to be taking place under the shelf sea than on the land where winter temps must halt the process.

If we are seeing the same features evolving then we must link it to 'warming' and we should expect to see more and more such features form over the coming decades.

If a sign of methane out-gassing then this is not a good development to be witnessing however fascinating it might be?
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2014, 03:29:25 AM »
For those who had trouble with Colorado Bob's link to the Robert Scribbler post on this topic, I provide the following link:

http://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/the-arctic-methane-monster-exhales-third-tundra-crater-found/#comment-19189
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ghoti

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2014, 04:01:40 AM »
News published in Nature today about it.

http://www.nature.com/news/mysterious-siberian-crater-attributed-to-methane-1.15649

Air near the bottom of the crater contained unusually high concentrations of methane — up to 9.6%

That's percent not parts per billion methane.

Jim Hunt

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2014, 09:03:27 AM »
Air near the bottom of the crater contained unusually high concentrations of methane — up to 9.6%

Gulp  :o
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2014, 06:42:16 PM »
The following link (see extracts below) leads to a discussion of the Yamal blowholes and includes an interview with Marina Leibman, a scientist at the Russian Academy of Sciences, who lead a team of scientists that visited the site of one of the holes (in mid-July 2014) that was approximately 30 meters in diameter and about 70 meters deep:


http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060003940

Extract: ""I have an opinion, but no proof," said Marina Leibman …

In Leibman's view, an unusually warm summer in the Yamal region in 2012 caused extensive permafrost melt, which unleashed methane gas trapped in the ice and sediment. That expanding gas presence unleashed by melt in turn caused the permafrost to pop up like a cork, spraying debris in a visible ring around the created hole, she explained. The presence of the debris likely couldn't have happened without such a popping action, she said.

It was not an explosion, but more of an eruption that sprayed debris far from the hole itself. The visited chasm most likely formed in 2013, according to Leibman. The holes have to be relatively recent, because of vegetation patterns, further indicating that the warm summer of 2012 may have played a role, she said.

Despite concerns about methane release from permafrost generally, the 30-meter-wide (98.4 foot) funnel is not likely to be a constant source of gas after the initial blowout, according to researchers.

"Sure some methane was released as it is a reason for the whole thing ... but when we were there we measured methane content and it was higher than the normal but far from a limit of risk of explosion," Leibman said. When asked about a climate change link, she said she preferred the term "local climate fluctuations."

One possible explanation is that warming helped create a cavity underneath the ground covered by a relativity stable top, said Vladimir Romanovsky, a professor of geophysics at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, who has spoken to Russian scientists investigating the holes.

In theory, such a cavity could be created underground over a period of years as pure ice deep underground became more vulnerable to melt than a mix of ice and earth material at the surface, which acted like a stabilizing roof. Those dynamics, combined with an underground water source at the spot -- also boosted by warming -- perhaps helped create the underground cavity.

When pressure built up in it from gas, it could have burst the top, he said.
The pressure could have come from methane either from melting surrounding ice or perhaps from a deep underground pathway transferring it from the area's rich gas fields, he said."

edit: this article larges presents the same point of view as the Nature article that ghoti links to in Reply #19 (and could be taken to be in line with Robert Scribbler's article that Colorado Bob linked to [see Reply #18])
« Last Edit: August 01, 2014, 06:51:34 PM by AbruptSLR »
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Laurent

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2014, 12:22:27 PM »
Mystery of the Siberian crater deepens: Scientists left baffled after two NEW holes appear in Russia's icy wilderness

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2708345/Mystery-Siberian-crater-deepens-Scientists-left-baffled-two-NEW-holes-appear-Russias-icy-wilderness.html

3 Holes very far from each other...so it not a local effect...

Shared Humanity

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #23 on: August 16, 2014, 04:09:06 PM »
From this link......

http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060003940

"...Much of what is known about the crater basics came from The Siberian Times, which reported earlier this month the discovery of the first hole with an icy lake at its bottom in northern Siberia,..."

....and this as well from the comment....

"One possible explanation is that warming helped create a cavity underneath the ground covered by a relativity stable top, said Vladimir Romanovsky, a professor of geophysics at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, who has spoken to Russian scientists investigating the holes.

In theory, such a cavity could be created underground over a period of years as pure ice deep underground became more vulnerable to melt than a mix of ice and earth material at the surface, which acted like a stabilizing roof. Those dynamics, combined with an underground water source at the spot -- also boosted by warming -- perhaps helped create the underground cavity."


...I would like to suggest a much more awesome possibility from a position of relative ignorance. All of these "blow holes" are occurring in areas of permafrost that are near the sea. This permafrost, which is frozen soil with large amounts of organic material, stretches across the northern regions of Siberia and collapses and turns into bogs when thawed. The area where this large hole appeared is on a peninsula that juts into a rapidly warming Kara Sea. This land is at or only slightly above sea level and has a massive river, the Ob, flowing through it into the sea. This "blow hole" is very deep and was described as having an icy lake at the bottom of it. I think the ice that is frozen deep below this area of land is melting because the warming Kara Sea and Ob River are intruding and melting the ice at and below sea level. This would not be a localized phenomena but is likely occurring all over this area of land. Imagine that this process is similar to the bottom melt of a glacier that terminates at the sea. As bottom melt occurs and thins the glacier, the glacier weakens and then calves. I think these "blow holes" could be a manifestation of the same basic process except they appear in this manner because the upper portions of this "land based glacier or ice shelf" includes huge amounts of organic material that has collected for tens of thousands of years.

Now consider that one of the largest rivers in Russia empties into the Kara Sea at this point and look at the map below again. The low elevation land to the west and east of this large river begins to take on the appearance of a large river delta, formed by a river that drains a vast, relatively low lying, region of Russia. This area of Russia actually receives fairly large amounts of rain, as compared to areas east of it. (see annual precipitation map below) How does this  compare to other large rivers? Look at the annual rainfall that occurs in the drainage basin of the largest river in North America, the Mississippi. (see below) While lower, they are not wildly different. This area of Russia, I believe, is a huge frozen river delta and is prone to collapse as it melts. This process has begun and, as it accelerates, the true nature of this land will reveal itself, a low lying river delta. Why do I believe  it will accelerate? I think it will behave just as the shallow East Siberian Sea is behaving. Methane plumes are appearing and expanding rapidly. This river delta will behave identically to a warming planet.

(Edit by author: Another note: This low lying region of Russia has a 2nd river also flowing to it, the Yenisey.)
« Last Edit: August 16, 2014, 04:28:58 PM by Shared Humanity »

Shared Humanity

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #24 on: August 16, 2014, 05:05:14 PM »
I thought I would provide a more detailed topographical map of the region. (Click on map to expand.) Much of the peninsula that extends into the Kara is no more than 50 meters above sea level. The first blow hole found near the tip of this peninsula was between 50 and 100 meters deep. (See link above on comment posted by Laurent.)

As fantastic as it sounds, it would not entirely surprise me if much of this peninsula is prone to sinking into the sea.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2014, 07:52:19 PM by Shared Humanity »

Shared Humanity

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #25 on: August 16, 2014, 06:13:54 PM »
Even if I have no clue what I am talking about, (a distinct possibility.) the Yamal Peninsula is an area of continuous permafrost. These holes that are appearing cannot be anything other than a collapse of the permafrost in this region. Unlike the boggy remains in areas further from the sea coast, this  collapse has left an amazingly deep hole with an icy lake 70 meters below the surface! When permafrost melts and forms small boggy ponds, the effect is to cause melt on the perimeter of these  ponds so that they enlarge. I would expect this to occur at these blow holes. The walls of this hole should continue to melt and  collapse. Since I believe the underlying melt is widespread (the icy lake as evidence of this) I would also expect new holes to form.

One other item to note from this image is that there are numerous rivers that flow into the Kara in this region of Russia. While the Ob and Yennisey are the largest, you have the Nadym, Pur and Taz that flow to the sea in between the larger rivers. In fact there are additional streams in this image that are not named....I expect that they have names. Looking at this lacework of rivers that intersect and split in the areas of  continuous and discontinuous permafrost, it would not be inaccurate to describe this area as a rich, moist river plain.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2014, 06:41:34 PM by Shared Humanity »

Shared Humanity

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2014, 06:40:25 PM »
If we take a look at the broader river basin in West Siberia that drains into the Kara, we see that evidence of widespread warming and melt are present.

http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2013/07/warm-water-keeps-flowing-into-the-kara-sea.html

This area of Russia is showing elevated levels of methane and is experiencing anomalously high summer temperatures. We are witnessing a transformation of a large portion of the northern hemisphere land surface.

Here is a  piece of research that focuses on the river basin that flows into the Kara Sea and the sea itself.

http://bprc.osu.edu/geo/publications/polyak_etal_JFR_02.pdf

With regards to my comparison of this drainage basin to the Mississippi....

"The mean annual discharges of the Ob and the Yenisey are approximately 400 and 580 km3, respectively; there combined discharge is almost two times that of the Mississippi River and constitutes more than 1/3 of the total runoff into the Arctic Ocean."

No mention is made of the smaller rivers that flow into the Kara Sea so these figures might be higher for  the entire basin.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2014, 07:30:10 PM by Shared Humanity »

Shared Humanity

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #27 on: August 16, 2014, 08:55:38 PM »
The Gulf of Ob (perhaps more properly called an estuary) is between 10 and 12 meters deep.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_of_Ob

From this research paper, (posted earlier)....

http://bprc.osu.edu/geo/publications/polyak_etal_JFR_02.pdf

.....the bottom water temperatures of the estuary in the summer, east of this large blow hole that has just formed, is 3C. Is this water temperature high enough to cause significant melt of the adjacent permafrost?

Does anyone know of any climate research that  is being done on this peninsula? It would be interesting if they are drilling cores of the permafrost. What would they find between 50 and 100 meters down? Could melt be spreading?

Laurent

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #28 on: August 16, 2014, 10:27:19 PM »
A few informations I can see (Don't have access) :
A continuous multimillennial ring-width chronology in Yamal, northwestern Siberia
http://hol.sagepub.com/content/12/6/717.short

Late Quaternary stratigraphy of western Yamal Peninsula, Russia: New constraints on the configuration of the Eurasian ice sheet
http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/27/9/807.short

The Yamal Peninsula-Lake Baikal deep seismic sounding profile
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/93GL01482/abstract;jsessionid=4941F424F5D576F02D2667009E03C6BF.f03t04?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

Soil Erosion on the Yamal Peninsula (Russian Arctic) due to Gas Field Exploitation
 :) http://www.fluvial-systems.net/present_en/ISCO96.pdf

Dynamics of landslide slopes and their development on Yamal peninsula
 :) http://www.arlis.org/docs/vol1/ICOP/55700698/Pdf/Chapter_115.pdf

Shared Humanity

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #29 on: August 17, 2014, 12:11:25 AM »
Thanks Laurent. That last research is informative.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2014, 12:18:02 AM by Shared Humanity »

Adam Ash

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #30 on: August 17, 2014, 03:20:39 AM »
SharedH.  Fresh water is densest at 3C, so above that can be 2C 1C then Ice or 4C up to what ever.   3C is pretty much the default bottom temperature for fresh water bodies.   (One of Natures presents for us, this density feature.  Saves ice forming on the bottom of oceans and rivers which leaves a habitable zone there.  It would be tricky otherwise.)

3C at the bottom, then, is no indicator of what it is at higher levels.  Certainly the rivers are transporting a lot of energy northwards and it will be affecting air and land temperatures, as well as the seabed.  They always have, but recent increased air temperatures in the region will be ramping up the energy carried north in the surface runoff; to where we least need it to be.

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #31 on: August 17, 2014, 11:56:50 AM »
Began thinking in terms of peat bog and not permafrost and came across info on deformation of peat boglands including this;

"Experiments with peat cores indicate that gas bubbles may
occlude peat pores and decrease the hydraulic conductivity
in the catotelm [Reynolds et al., 1992; Beckwith and Baird,
2001]. Romanowicz et al. [1995] therefore hypothesized
that biogenic gas bubbles occlude the pores in the deeper
peat strata in the GLAP, producing transient confining
layers that episodically rupture and release large volumes
of methane to the atmosphere"

from; http://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1094&context=ers_facpub

It appears that we can see behaviours that would 'erupt' the surface as the gas escapes? The Yamal pit would take more explaining ( the overdeepening) but the small surface 'burm' may well represent this type of surface deformation? i find it hard to buy a large, cylindrical mass of pure ice once filled the rest of the void so where did the rest of the material go that once filled the void? Transport in solution? That would call for an underground water course at the base of the pit ( like the sub glacial rivers?) which would raise questions about the whole of this region and the rapid changes occurring there?
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Laurent

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #32 on: August 17, 2014, 12:08:32 PM »
Seems a good explaination. That mean we should look for a layer (around 10 cm thick ?) certainly still showed on the surface of the hole, that could seal the part before over pressured.

Shared Humanity

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #33 on: August 17, 2014, 03:25:33 PM »
Began thinking in terms of peat bog and not permafrost and came across info on deformation of peat boglands including this;

"Experiments with peat cores indicate that gas bubbles may
occlude peat pores and decrease the hydraulic conductivity
in the catotelm [Reynolds et al., 1992; Beckwith and Baird,
2001]. Romanowicz et al. [1995] therefore hypothesized
that biogenic gas bubbles occlude the pores in the deeper
peat strata in the GLAP, producing transient confining
layers that episodically rupture and release large volumes
of methane to the atmosphere"

from; http://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1094&context=ers_facpub

It appears that we can see behaviours that would 'erupt' the surface as the gas escapes? The Yamal pit would take more explaining ( the overdeepening) but the small surface 'burm' may well represent this type of surface deformation? i find it hard to buy a large, cylindrical mass of pure ice once filled the rest of the void so where did the rest of the material go that once filled the void? Transport in solution? That would call for an underground water course at the base of the pit ( like the sub glacial rivers?) which would raise questions about the whole of this region and the rapid changes occurring there?


I am not sure if this is the case for each of the holes but Jim Hunt posted a video above of the largest hole taken from a helicopter and this hole is clearly located along a surface feature that looks like a stream. Is it possible that, given the porous nature of the soils, (described as sand  and peat in the above linked research posted by Laurent) could this surface feature suggest a  similar feature is underlying it? Could an underlying stream or river, fed by water percolating down from the surface be carrying away lose organic material to the sea?

If you look at a satellite view of the Yamal Peninsula, it is laced with surface stream features. I wonder if there is any research that measures subsidence on the peninsula.

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #34 on: August 17, 2014, 03:39:31 PM »
I read somewhere that the peninsulars highest point was about 45m above sea level, so a 70m hole would have nowhere to drain unless there's a porous underlying strata. Is the whole peninsular frozen ground of this type? Until someone explains the chemistry behind a salt/methane explosion and establishes that the base of the hole is more or less at the salt layer this'll remain a mystery to me.

Shared Humanity

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #35 on: August 17, 2014, 04:12:44 PM »
I read somewhere that the peninsulars highest point was about 45m above sea level, so a 70m hole would have nowhere to drain unless there's a porous underlying strata. Is the whole peninsular frozen ground of this type? Until someone explains the chemistry behind a salt/methane explosion and establishes that the base of the hole is more or less at the salt layer this'll remain a mystery to me.


Good article that may not answer the question but it does provide information on the behavior of soils when permafrost is degrading.

http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/155184/

This research shows significant warming of soils on the Yamal Peninsula and also shows that organic (peat soils) are the most susceptible to thawing permafrost.

This research article takes a closer  look at the Yamal Peninsula soils.

http://epic.awi.de/28435/1/Polarforsch1998_26.pdf

"The permafrost layer is characterized by high values of water and ice content decreasing with depth (from 85 % to 25 %). The unfrozen water content increases with depth (from 1 % to 20 %)."


Laurent

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #36 on: August 17, 2014, 08:18:26 PM »
Looking at one of the photos I wonder if the layer that I have encircled may be the cork layer said by Graywolf. If there is bacterial activity that could seal a lime layer may be it is around. It must be near the point where the over pressure seems to have started. I remember seeing a documentary where there was bacterial activity in a cave without oxygen. The bacterias were building a film on the surface of a pond with the consistency of some gelatin certainly hydrophobic and made to capture the gaz from below (may be)...life was thriving in a place where it should not have...
« Last Edit: August 19, 2014, 01:42:15 PM by Laurent »

johnm33

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #37 on: August 19, 2014, 10:55:12 AM »
SH Thanks for those links now i find myself very curious as to the depth of the 'surface' beneath the permafrost, and how did it ever get to be 500m thick?

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #38 on: August 19, 2014, 01:21:44 PM »
Johnm33,

Quite simply - time. Lots and lots of time. The permafrost and it's underlayer slowly accumulate and there's not much going on to erode or deplete it. Under the ESS it's thought to extend many KM deep.

Now there's a scary thought!

Laurent

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #39 on: August 19, 2014, 10:59:05 PM »
Found the video I was talking about in english :
Movile cave in Romania
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbpmJiI66wc
http://www.int-res.com/articles/ame/18/a018p157.pdf

Don't know if there is anything to see with our Siberian Holes but anyway for your information...

Laurent

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #40 on: August 21, 2014, 10:26:54 AM »

Anne

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #41 on: November 12, 2014, 03:59:27 PM »
Now that the ground is frozen, a team from the Russian Center of Arctic Exploration has descended into the crater and is taking measurements. Story and some great pictures here:
http://siberiantimes.com/science/casestudy/news/n0018-exclusive-new-pictures-inside-mystery-siberian-crater/

Rick Aster

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #42 on: November 13, 2014, 07:30:07 PM »
Photos at The Guardian:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2014/nov/13/scientists-climb-to-bottom-of-siberian-sinkhole-in-pictures
Eighty percent of the crater appears to be made up of ice and there are no traces of a meteorite strike

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #44 on: February 04, 2015, 06:12:04 PM »
The linked reference provides evidence that the Siberian Arctic region has been warming for the past 7,000 years and that the rate of temperature increase has accelerated marked during the past few decades.  This indicates that the large Siberian permafrost is less stable than some researchers have previously thought, which may mean a likely increase and both CO2 and CH4 emissions and likely more methane hydrate sinkholes in the near future:

Hanno Meyer, Thomas Opel, Thomas Laepple, Alexander Yu Dereviagin, Kirstin Hoffmann & Martin Werner, (2015), "Long-term winter warming trend in the Siberian Arctic during the mid- to late Holocene", Nature Geoscience, Volume: 8, Pages: 122–125, doi:10.1038/ngeo2349


http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v8/n2/full/ngeo2349.html


Abstract: "Relative to the past 2,000 years, the Arctic region has warmed significantly over the past few decades. However, the evolution of Arctic temperatures during the rest of the Holocene is less clear. Proxy reconstructions, suggest a long-term cooling trend throughout the mid- to late Holocene, whereas climate model simulations show only minor changes or even warming. Here we present a record of the oxygen isotope composition of permafrost ice wedges from the Lena River Delta in the Siberian Arctic. The isotope values, which reflect winter season temperatures, became progressively more enriched over the past 7,000 years, reaching unprecedented levels in the past five decades. This warming trend during the mid- to late Holocene is in opposition to the cooling seen in other proxy records. However, most of these existing proxy records are biased towards summer temperatures. We argue that the opposing trends are related to the seasonally different orbital forcing over this interval. Furthermore, our reconstructed trend as well as the recent maximum are consistent with the greenhouse gas forcing and climate model simulations, thus reconciling differing estimates of Arctic and northern high-latitude temperature evolution during the Holocene."

See also:
http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060012729

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wili

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Four New Enormous Holes in North Russia
« Reply #45 on: February 23, 2015, 10:46:25 PM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VXocKZFjfs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWuKzF1Ryjs

So far, all I can find is these videos and a Daily Mail story, so I'd like to have more evidence before knowing what to make of this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2965385/Are-Siberia-s-mysterious-craters-caused-climate-change-Scientists-four-new-enormous-holes-northern-Russia.html

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.”


ETA: None of the pictures show much snow on the ground, which seems odd this time of year at that location. I'm thinking something maybe off about this story.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2015, 11:12:25 PM by wili »
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Re: Four New Enormous Holes in North Russia
« Reply #46 on: February 23, 2015, 11:58:27 PM »

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Re: Four New Enormous Holes in North Russia
« Reply #47 on: February 24, 2015, 12:24:21 AM »
Snow–covers change and the date of photos could be varying: Don't think this is a hoax because of absent snow.

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.

One million times more methane hydrates. Whoa. On the submarine front, however, this winter has been very quiet. Not much drama there.
[]

Anne

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Re: Siberian permafrost hole/blowout
« Reply #48 on: February 24, 2015, 01:15:59 AM »
More craters have been found, according to the Siberian Times.
Respected Moscow scientist Professor Vasily Bogoyavlensky has called for 'urgent' investigation of the new phenomenon amid safety fears.

Until now, only three large craters were known about in northern Russia with several scientific sources speculating last year that heating from above the surface due to unusually warm climatic conditions, and from below, due to geological fault lines, led to a huge release of gas hydrates, so causing the formation of these craters in Arctic regions.

Two of the newly-discovered large craters - also known as funnels to scientists - have turned into lakes, revealed Professor Bogoyavlensky, deputy director of the Moscow-based Oil and Gas Research Institute, part of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Examination using satellite images has helped Russian experts understand that the craters are more widespread than was first realised, with one large hole surrounded by as many as 20 mini-craters, The Siberian Times can reveal.

'We know now of seven craters in the Arctic area,' he said. '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.'

He is anxious to investigate the craters further because of serious concerns for safety in these regions.

The study of satellite images showed that near the famous hole, located in 30 kilometres from Bovanenkovo are two potentially dangerous objects, where the gas emission can occur at any moment.
More at the link, with photographs including one of a lake showing degassing.
http://siberiantimes.com/science/casestudy/news/n0127-dozens-of-mysterious-new-craters-suspected-in-northern-russia/

Anne

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Re: Four New Enormous Holes in North Russia
« Reply #49 on: February 24, 2015, 01:22:23 AM »
Whoops, sorry, I just posted about this on the blowout thread on Permafrost, not seeing this. The Daily Mail article is a ripoff from 
the Siberian Times.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 01:29:58 AM by Anne »