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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Exploding Tundra

                                 Arctic tundra melts (credit: Ingur)

Areas of tundra in Siberia have turned into jelly as the underlying frozen ground (permafrost) melts. Sub-soils, some regions frozen since the Pleistocene ice age, are beginning to liquefy and are symptomatic of a rapidly changing climate in the Arctic. This also has the potential for releases of stored carbon as buried plant materials thaw. The unfrozen soil, rich in carbon-filled peat, is now exposed to bacteria and fungi that start to decompose releasing natural gas (methane) as it rots. Methane is 4-times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Siberian researchers have discovered pockets of methane gas have developed under the tundra and some have explosively erupted. In one situation, first covered by the Siberian Times, a tundra explosion was heard nearly 60 miles away. They produced a video on this environmental situation.

Permafrost melting and methane bombs may become a wider concern if such events turn from being a local occurrence into a circumpolar one. WHB

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