A giant sinkhole found in Yamal: why is it so bad

In the north of western Siberia, on the Yamal Peninsula, the 17th crater has already been found, formed from hydrolaccolith or heaving mound. The discovery was accidentally made by journalists returning by helicopter from a business trip to the tundra. It quickly became clear that the found object is one of the largest, has a diameter of 50 m, and it is also perfectly preserved, which gives scientists hope to learn a lot about the nature of this phenomenon.

Alas, today the study of heaving mounds is caused not so much by scientific interest as by the question of human survival in the vast space of the planet, where there is still permafrost, which is no longer called "eternal". The ice is rapidly melting under conditions of rapid climatic changes, and the current hot summer in Siberia has shown what this will lead to in the near future. We are talking about the environmental disaster in Norilsk in late spring, when the movement of the ground destroyed the reservoir and more than 20, 000 tons of fuel got into the river.

For centuries, permafrost has been a natural shield that protected the world above from what is hidden in the bowels of the earth. This gas is methane, which is concentrated at a certain point, pushes the rock apart under pressure and rises to the surface. At this point, a huge cavity is formed in the ground. The surface swells and then it is only a matter of time and weather, until this "cover" of ice and frozen ground is weakened enough for the gas to burst out. On the example of the 17th sinkhole in Yamal, one can see that this happens in the form of an explosion, and pieces of soil are scattered around for hundreds of meters.

But scientists are not afraid of new explosions and failures, although their appearance near the infrastructure is very dangerous. They are concerned about the very tendency of the weakening of the shield from the permafrost and the release of methane into the atmosphere. First, it greatly enhances the greenhouse effect on the planet. Secondly, it is not clear what the tundra will turn into when the permafrost melts. What will happen in the vast areas of Siberia, what is the climate and what conditions are formed there? It seems that we will find out the answer to this question in the very near future.