Natural resources
First sensor to predict funnel formation in Yamal
© RIA Novosti. Viktor Brandman

First sensor to predict funnel formation in Yamal

The first seismic sensor to predict possible dangerous natural underground phenomena, including the formation of funnels, was installed near the village of Sabetta in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area, TASS reported citing the local department of science and innovation.

"During an expedition, organized by the Arktika (Arctic) inter-regional expedition center, the first seismic sensor — a device to track, study and predict possible dangerous natural phenomena in the industrial development area — was installed near Sabetta. Seismic sensors will record surface fluctuations and transmit data to the Arktika expedition center and the United Geophysical Service of the Russian Academy of Sciences for further processing and interpreting," the department's spokesperson said.

To install the seismic sensor, the scientists drilled a 4 meter-deep well, TASS reported. The sensor was placed into the well in the perennially-frozen ground while the autonomous event recorder remains on the surface. In addition, another two sensors will be installed on the peninsula — at the Bovanenkovskoye field and in the village of Kharasavei.

Previously, TASS reported that a chain of sensors would be installed in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area to predict the formation of new funnels. One device can continuously analyze seismic processes within a radius of 200 kilometers. Since 2014, several funnels have been discovered in the autonomous area. The depth of the best known funnel located near the Bovanenkovskoye field is at least 35 meters, and its diameter is about 40 meters. At the moment, it is completely flooded with water. It is assumed that the funnels were formed due to the release of gas hydrates — a mixture of water and methane, caused by the warming up of the surface and the geological features of the terrain.