Gas Pipelines Supplying Europe in Real Danger from Exploding Tundra
Pipes are built over bulging and unstable Arctic pingos prone to violent eruptions caused by 'thawing methane gas', as seen twice on the Yamal peninsula this year.
New analysis by satellite and helicopter shows gas pipelines run right over swelling tundra which is deeply unstable due to the release of underground methane that had been frozen in permafrost - now thawing - for thousands of years, revealed Russia's leading expert on the new phenomenon, Professor Vasily Bogoyavlensky.
In one recent explosion, permafrost soil was thrown around 1 kilometre from the epicentre of the blast, highlighting the huge force, scientists discovered. Flames shot into the sky, and a 50 metre-deep crater was formed from the eruption. The process is seen as caused by the warming Arctic climate and has vast implications for the energy industry in polar regions.
Dr Bogoyavlensky believes the explosions are similar to the under-ocean eruptions of methane that caused the so-called Bermuda Triangle. The Yamal peninsula is now one of the world's key sites for production of natural gas for residential and industrial supplies, notably to Western Europe, for example by Gazprom. Currently, there are three seismic stations on the Yamal peninsula, in Sabetta, Bovanenkovo and Kharasavey. Scientists believe at least six permanent stations are required, with three more located in Urengoy, Bely island and Salekhard. The issue of Yamal tundra explosions is to addressed at the next meeting of the Russian government's state commission on exploration of the Arctic. Reported by Siberia Times.
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