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SOURCE: The Siberian Times

DATE: October 28, 2019

SNIP: Unexpectedly high level of subsea permafrost degradation was recorded by a Russian-led scientific expedition that spent more than a month in the seas of the eastern Arctic.

A record high methane gas emission in a shape of an underwater ‘fountain’ was registered at the beginning of October east of Bennett island in the East Siberian Sea.

‘It was a needle in a haystack chase, to find an exact place of a methane seep in dark sea waters, but we found it!

‘Just right off the Academician Keldysh scientists noticed a spot of emerald-coloured water, with gas rushing to surface in thousands of bubble threads’, said expedition member Sergey Nikiforov, a communications experts of the Tomsk Politechnical University.

The area of the fountain covered about five metres, with water ‘so violently boiling with methane bubbles’ that scientists skipped using plastic cones for sampling and instead collected the gas in buckets.

Unexpectedly high speed of degradation of subsea permafrost has been recorded.

‘In some areas the roof of subsea permafrost thawed to the stability horizons of gas hydrates. Moreover, it has been proved that over the past 30 years speed of vertical degradation of subsea permafrost doubled compared to previous centuries and reached 18 centimetres per year which is significantly higher than in earlier estimates‘, said professor Semiletov.

‘This result makes us reconsider the belief that subsea permafrost is stable and can only thaw by a few metres by the end of 21st century’, he stressed.

Elena Kudryashova, rector of Northern Federal University, Arkhangelsk: ‘Another important subject of our research was study of various types of microplastic in the seas of the eastern Arctic. Microplastic has been discovered in seas of the eastern Artic thousands miles away from residential settlements.