Siberia found itself at the center of one of last year’s biggest mysteries when a number of large holes started to appear in remote areas of the country back in July.
Researchers spent months investigating the phenomenon and determined that the release of gas hydrates brought about by rising temperatures was the most likely explanation. Now however it turns out that the craters may be a lot more widespread in the region than had been previously believed.
“We know now of seven craters in the Arctic area,” said Professor Vasily Bogoyavlensky. “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.”
Scientists have speculated that there could be several dozen more craters spread across Siberia.
“I would compare this with mushrooms: when you find one mushroom, be sure there are few more around,” said Professor Bogoyavlensky. “I suppose there could be 20 to 30 craters more.”
Some of the craters have now turned in to lakes while one of particular note appears to be surrounded by a series of two dozen smaller holes.
“These objects need to be studied, but it is rather dangerous for the researchers,” he said.
“We know that there can occur a series of gas emissions over an extended period of time, but we do not know exactly when they might happen.”