Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Giant Craters Appearing on Arctic Seafloor - Tasnim News Agency

Giant Craters Appearing on Arctic Seafloor

Enormous craters measuring 90 feet in depth have appeared on the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean.

The craters, scientists say, are forming as a result of thawing submerged permafrost on the edge of the Beaufort Sea in northern Canada, with retreating glaciers from the last ice age driving the change.

Permafrost is ground that is permanently frozen—in some cases for hundreds of thousands of years. In the Arctic, which is warming faster than any other region of Earth, permafrost is thawing, causing the ground to become unstable.

A s the soil thaws, organic matter trapped within starts to break down, causing the release of methane and other greenhouse gasses. As these gasses are released, pressure builds.

On land, the impact is clear. In Siberia, there is footage showing the land wobbling "like jelly" beneath people's feet.

Eventually, when the pressure reaches a tipping point, the land explodes, leaving massive craters behind. One person who witnessed this happening described it as being "as if the earth was breathing."

What happens when permafrost on the bottom of the sea thaws is less clear, however.

In 2019, scientists in Siberia discovered a patch of ocean where the sea was "boiling" with methane, with concentrations of the gas around seven times higher than the global average.

Two years earlier, a different team of researchers found evidence of huge craters—some over 3,000 feet wide—on the floor of the Barents Sea, north of Norway and Russia. They said these craters had formed as a result of methane explosions that took place thousands of years earlier.

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