Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, and the abrupt degassing events that recently have formed large craters on the Russian Arctic Yamal and Gydan Peninsulas have caused major concern. Here we present field data on cover sediments and evolution of a gas-emission crater discovered in the Erkuta–Yakha River valley in the southern Yamal Peninsula in June 2017. The crater is located south of other similar craters discovered over the past decade in northern West Siberia. Data were collected during a field trip to the Erkuta crater in December 2017 which included field observations and sampling of permafrost soil and ground ice from the rim of the crater. All soil and ice samples were measured for contents of methane and its homologs (ethane and propane) and carbon dioxide. The contents of carbon dioxide in some samples are notably higher than methane. The strongly negative δ13C of methane from ground ice samples (−72%°) is typical of biogenic hydrocarbons. The ratio of methane to the total amount of its homologs indicate a component of gases that have migrated from a deeper, thermogenic source. Based on obtained results, a potential formation model for Erkuta gas-emission crater is proposed, which considers the combined effect of deep-seated (deep gas migration) and shallow (oxbow lake evolution and closed talik freezing) causes. This model includes several stages from geological prerequisites to the lake formation.
- Gas emission
- Proposed formation model