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Open AccessArticle

Detecting and Mapping Gas Emission Craters on the Yamal and Gydan Peninsulas, Western Siberia

1
Woodwell Climate Research Center, Falmouth, MA 02540, USA
2
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
3
US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, Ogden, UT 84401, USA
4
Trofimuk Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics, Novosibirsk 630090, Russia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geosciences 2021, 11(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11010021
Received: 30 October 2020 / Revised: 25 November 2020 / Accepted: 29 December 2020 / Published: 1 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gas Emissions and Crater Formation in Arctic Permafrost)
Rapid climate warming at northern high latitudes is driving geomorphic changes across the permafrost zone. In the Yamal and Gydan peninsulas in western Siberia, subterranean accumulation of methane beneath or within ice-rich permafrost can create mounds at the land surface. Once over-pressurized by methane, these mounds can explode and eject frozen ground, forming a gas emission crater (GEC). While GECs pose a hazard to human populations and infrastructure, only a small number have been identified in the Yamal and Gydan peninsulas, where the regional distribution and frequency of GECs and other types of land surface change are relatively unconstrained. To understand the distribution of landscape change within 327,000 km2 of the Yamal-Gydan region, we developed a semi-automated multivariate change detection algorithm using satellite-derived surface reflectance, elevation, and water extent in the Google Earth Engine cloud computing platform. We found that 5% of the landscape changed from 1984 to 2017. The algorithm detected all seven GECs reported in the scientific literature and three new GEC-like features, and further revealed that retrogressive thaw slumps were more abundant than GECs. Our methodology can be refined to detect and better understand diverse types of land surface change and potentially mitigate risks across the northern permafrost zone. View Full-Text
Keywords: permafrost; thermokarst; landscape change; remote sensing; ArcticDEM; Landsat; cryovolcanism; GEC; methane crater; Google Earth Engine permafrost; thermokarst; landscape change; remote sensing; ArcticDEM; Landsat; cryovolcanism; GEC; methane crater; Google Earth Engine
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zolkos, S.; Fiske, G.; Windholz, T.; Duran, G.; Yang, Z.; Olenchenko, V.; Faguet, A.; Natali, S.M. Detecting and Mapping Gas Emission Craters on the Yamal and Gydan Peninsulas, Western Siberia. Geosciences 2021, 11, 21. https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11010021

AMA Style

Zolkos S, Fiske G, Windholz T, Duran G, Yang Z, Olenchenko V, Faguet A, Natali SM. Detecting and Mapping Gas Emission Craters on the Yamal and Gydan Peninsulas, Western Siberia. Geosciences. 2021; 11(1):21. https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11010021

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zolkos, Scott; Fiske, Greg; Windholz, Tiffany; Duran, Gabriel; Yang, Zhiqiang; Olenchenko, Vladimir; Faguet, Alexey; Natali, Susan M. 2021. "Detecting and Mapping Gas Emission Craters on the Yamal and Gydan Peninsulas, Western Siberia" Geosciences 11, no. 1: 21. https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11010021

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