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Methane Bubbles in the Lakes

If you want to see the effects of global warming, visit Alaskan ‘boiling’ lakes


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Boreal regions of Alaska are home to an interesting phenomenon of ‘boiling’ lakes. They can also be found in Canada, Siberia, and a few other northernmost places. The bubbles that appear in the lakes are created by gas methane, which is seeping out. According to some scientists, this is the result of global warming. Once frozen ground began to melt and released the gases that have been trapped inside since the Ice age.

When the methane bubble pops, it exposes the gas into the atmosphere. The methane released by one lake can’t have much effect, but combining with others factors across the world it brings lots of damage. It can change our climate really fast.

At some lakes methane is seeping out continuously. During summer months, the bubbles float on the surface of the lake and pop. As the lakes freeze in fall and winter, the gas is trapped under the ice. During this period the researchers and scientists can see the exact places where the gas seeps out. Methane creates spectacular patterns on ice, which are clearly visible. The scientists pop the ice in such places and test it with a lighter. When the place is right, you can see enormous flames bursting into the air. But don't try it yourself, since it's very dangerous.

If you want to see the experiments with your own eyes, come to Fairbanks in Alaska during fall months between October and November, when the ice is thick enough and the snow hasn’t spoiled the visibility yet. Or choose small ponds in tundra or small river branches.

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