Nov 23, 2017 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

12,000 Year-Old Methane-Leaking Craters Discovered In The Arctic Sea Floor

Jun 03, 2017 07:41 AM EDT

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Hundreds of 12,000-year-old craters were discovered in the Arctic sea floor by scientists. The craters were said to be a result of methane blowout but are seen to leak methane until now. Fortunately, the researchers said that the methane coming from the floor of the Barents Sea isn’t seen to spread in the air as of now.

According to Mail Online, researchers have discovered more than 600 craters in the Barents Sea, north of Norway and Russia. The craters were said to form from mounds full of methane that exploded 12,000 years ago. The craters were then discovered to still leak methane, a contributor to global warming until now.

"The crater area was covered by a thick ice sheet during the last ice age, much as West Antarctica is today. As the climate warmed, and the ice sheet collapsed, enormous amounts of methane were abruptly released,” Karin Andreassen, first author of the study and professor at CAGE Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate stated.

With that said, the report published in the journal Science mentioned that the craters in the sea floors measure 984 feet to 3,280 feet wide. Smaller craters that have a measure of fewer than 300 meters wide were also detected. Andreassen then further explained that the idea behind the craters formed from methane explosion is a pressure cooker. The pressure built up since the pressure is not controlled and later results in a mess.

Some of the craters that were formed due to methane were identified to be discovered since the 90s. Yet, it was just recently that a new technology was used only to find out that the crates have already covered a vast area in the Arctic’s sea floor as reported by Phys Org.

Nonetheless, the study researchers believe that the report about the craters would help in discovering what happened in the vast reserves of hydrocarbons beneath the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. Another outcome from the study was said to know what could happen to future methane releases and explosions.

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