Methane-leaking craters have been recently found by scientist in the Arctic sea floor. So far, scientists have discovered hundreds of these craters, dating back even 12,000 years ago.
Are these craters dangerous?
According to scientist, the methane coming from these craters on the Barents Sea have not spread in the air. Around 600 of these craters have been found north of Norway and Russia, in the Barents Sea. So far they do not represent a danger; however they formed mounds full of methane. It is believed that the mounds explored 12,000 years ago and since then, the craters have continue to leak methane, a substance contributing to global warming.
How did this phenomenon take place?
According to Karin Andreassen, a professor at CAGE Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate and author of the study, the crater was covered by an ice sheet during the ice age. The same happened to West Antarctica. When the climate started to getting warmer, the ice sheet melted and huge amounts of methane were released.
Her study has been published in the journal Science and it also contains info regarding craters measuring less than 300 meters. The craters discovered to have leaked methane measured 884 feet to 3,280 feet. Andreassen associated the craters with a pressure cooker and the leaking of methane happened, as a result, built-in pressure.
In the 90s, craters containing methane have been discovered, however, nowadays with the new technology available even more craters have been discovered in a vast area of the Arctic Sea floor.
What does the study conclude?
According to the findings, the scientists believe that they will help understand the processes taking place in the hydrocarbons reserves beneath the West Antarctic and the Greenland ice sheets. In the future, researchers believe that future methane releases could happen.