A 3D model of a massive 30-meter-deep crater on the Siberian tundra supports scientists previous suspicion that climate change is behind the explosions that form such craters.
The new crater offered the first opportunity for scientists to use drones to build a 3D model of the crater.
The 3D model largely confirmed what scientists had hypothesized: Methane gas builds in a cavity in the ice, causing a mound to appear at ground level.
The mound grows in size before blowing out ice and other debris in an explosion, leaving behind a massive crater.
What’s still unclear is the source of the methane. It could be coming from layers deep within the Earth, or closer to the surface — or a combination of the two.
Scientists believe that the frozen earth of Siberia’s tundra acted as a plug that kept the methane trapped.
As the region warms up and the permafrost melts for the first time in recorded history, it’s expected that methane blowouts would become more frequent.