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New giant craters explode on Yamal Peninsula, Russia

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At least two new giant craters formed on Russia's Yamal Peninsula this year, with the latest one observed exploding on June 28, 2017, north of the Yamal region, above the Arctic Circle. The eruption was reportedly picked up by new seismic sensors specifically designed to monitor such events.

The formation of both craters involved an explosion followed by fire, evidently signs of the eruption of methane gas pockets under the Yamal surface, The Siberian Times reported. People in Seyakha village heard a 'loud explosion-like bang' then saw a fire and clouds of black smoke, according to reports. 

A local herder who has a camp close to the event told Vesti-Yamal television he saw short but mighty fire around 10:25 local time on June 28.

"It happened some 35 to 45 km (22 – 28 miles) northwest of Seyakha. There was a hill not far from the camp, and it exploded. There were fire, smoke and chunks of soil flying out of the epicenter," he said.

Over the past couple of years, several massive craters have been discovered in the gas-rich Yamal Peninsula. The first one was discovered in 2014 near Bovanenkovo, one of Russia's biggest natural gas field. It has a diameter of up to 60 m (200 feet).

It is not rare that the sinkholes are triggered by methane explosions with fires and smoke, Vasily Bogoyavlensky, a research leader at the Russian Academy of Sciences, told TASS news agency.

Featured image: New giant crater found on Yamal Peninsula, Russia on June 28, 2017. Credit: Alexander Y.

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