The Yamal crater is recognized as the first cryovolcan in the world.
Remember, we discussed with interest the unusual Yamal hole that emerged quite suddenly in 2014. There were many versions and now the staff of the Geological Faculty of Moscow State University named after MV Lomonosov conducted a comprehensive study of the Arctic crater on the Yamal Peninsula and found out the reason for its formation.
As a result, scientists discovered a new geological phenomenon, which was previously considered characteristic only of ice space bodies.
The first mysterious crater formed by the explosion of gas on Yamal, was discovered in the summer of 2014 and aroused the interest of specialists. This funnel was located near the natural gas field. Its occurrence was disturbed by the gas companies, since the unexplored phenomenon could pose a danger to the local population and main communications.
“The unusual size and shape of the Yamal crater immediately gave rise to many hypotheses, including the most fantastic ones. On the Yamal Peninsula, gas fields are being actively developed, and such phenomena carry a threat.Therefore, it was necessary to establish the nature of the crater and understand how this phenomenon is related to the development of the Arctic or global climate change, said Andrei Bychkov, a professor at the Department of Geochemistry at the Geological Faculty of Moscow State University, professor at the Russian Academy of Sciences.
According to him, the explanation of the new natural phenomenon turned out to be a serious challenge. It was impossible for geocryologists to solve a similar problem, so they teamed up with other specialists.
“The application of different methods led to one conclusion: the Yamal Crater is a new phenomenon of nature, which we decided to call cryovolcanism by analogy with the term adopted in planetology. This means that the Arctic has not been studied enough yet and, perhaps, it is still preparing surprises, ”the professor believes.
During the complex geocryological expedition, the researchers studied the signs of freezing of thawed soils, structural features of underground ice, the content and distribution of the gas component of frozen rocks, and also conducted a geochemical analysis of the mineral component and melt water. On the basis of the data obtained, scientists have concluded that the funnel was formed as a result of the accumulation of gas in a closed talik - a frozen layer of earth in the permafrost region.
Chemical and isotope analyzes of gas showed that it was formed biogenically, that is, as a result of the vital activity of microorganisms, and is not associated with deep deposits.
The formation of craters is usually preceded by the appearance of mounds with a height of from two to five meters. Inside the mound, under a layer of permafrost, gas is trapped, which, due to hydrostatic pressure resulting from the freezing of thawed soils, explodes. The eruption itself occurs in several stages and is accompanied not only by the release of gas, but also by gas-saturated water and thawed soil. After the explosion, a crater is formed, surrounded by a shaft.
One of the latest cases of crater formation was recorded on June 28, 2017 near the village of Seyakh on the Yamal Peninsula. The gas explosion, which was observed by local residents, formed a crater in the ground with a nine-story building.
The scientific article on the results of the work was published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports.