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Open AccessArticle

Conceptual Models of Gas Accumulation in the Shallow Permafrost of Northern West Siberia and Conditions for Explosive Gas Emissions

1
Center for Hydrocarbon Recovery, Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech), Skolkovo Innovation Center, 3 Nobel Street, Moscow 121205, Russia
2
Total, 2 Jean Miller, La Defense, 92078 Paris, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geosciences 2020, 10(5), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences10050195
Received: 13 April 2020 / Revised: 13 May 2020 / Accepted: 18 May 2020 / Published: 22 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gas Emissions and Crater Formation in Arctic Permafrost)
Gas accumulation and pressurized unfrozen rocks under lakes (sublake taliks) subject to freezing in shallow permafrost may lead to explosive gas emissions and the formation of craters. Gas inputs into taliks may have several sources: microbially-mediated recycling of organic matter, dissociation of intrapermafrost gas hydrates, and migration of subpermafrost and deep gases through permeable zones in a deformed crust. The cryogenic concentration of gas increases the pore pressure in the freezing gas-saturated talik. The gradual pressure buildup within the confined talik causes creep (ductile) deformation of the overlying permafrost and produces a mound on the surface. As the pore pressure in the freezing talik surpasses the permafrost strength, the gas-water-soil mixture of the talik erupts explosively and a crater forms where the mound was. The critical pressure in the confined gas-saturated talik (2–2.5 MPa for methane) corresponds to the onset of gas hydrate formation. The conditions of gas accumulation and excess pressure in freezing closed taliks in shallow permafrost, which may be responsible for explosive gas emissions and the formation of craters, are described by several models. View Full-Text
Keywords: permafrost; thermokarst lake; sublake talik; gas accumulation; gas migration; gas hydrates; gas emission; methane permafrost; thermokarst lake; sublake talik; gas accumulation; gas migration; gas hydrates; gas emission; methane
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Chuvilin, E.; Sokolova, N.; Davletshina, D.; Bukhanov, B.; Stanilovskaya, J.; Badetz, C.; Spasennykh, M. Conceptual Models of Gas Accumulation in the Shallow Permafrost of Northern West Siberia and Conditions for Explosive Gas Emissions. Geosciences 2020, 10, 195.

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