Wednesday, Feb 21 2024
All Cities
Choose Your City
'Lake Baikal's ability to purify itself is down to an endemic microscopic shrimp called epischura baikalensis'

Frozen river catches fire from escaping methane gas: should we be worried?

By 0 and 0 and 0
23 January 2019


'I decided to check if it catches fire - and here you go…..’ Picture: Evgeny Terentyev and Alexander Sannikov

Passionate angler Evgeny Terentyev, 31, from Khanty-Mansiysk, said: ‘I've just drilled an ice hole - and a fountain of gas blew up. 

'I decided to check if it catches fire - and here you go…..’

He moves the camera and the large flames are seen on the frozen river. 

'This is natural gas from the Irtysh - it's bubbling well.’

The scene is from Gornopravdinsk in Khanty-Mansi autonomous region, an area also known as Yugra.

He joked: ‘Our Yugra region is so rich with natural resources that we even have gas flowing - even in the Irtysh River.’

He told The Siberian Times: ‘It doesn’t go on for too long, though from time to time new bubbles appear and you hear water boiling up  again. 

‘I alerted the emergency services about this. 

‘It didn’t seem to affect the fishing.

‘I caught quite a lot of pike.’

Scientist Nikita Zimov, director of Pleistocene Park in Yakutia, examined the methane leak video

‘This might be ordinary methane from decomposed organics, and bubbles of gas transported by the river current gathered there due to ice geometry and relief,’ he said.

‘If there was a constant stream of gas, then there would not be ice frozen over this area.

Gas leaking

Gas burning

Gas burning

Gas burning

‘Judging by flame, the bubble is huge  - up to several thousand litres.' Pictures: Evgeny Terentyev and Alexander Sannikov

‘So this might be bubbles of geological gas that ‘hatch’ there from time to time. 

‘Gas could have gathered after ice on the river froze solid.

’It must have been accumulating there for a while. 

‘Judging by flame, the bubble is huge  - up to several thousand litres. 

‘To give a more exact estimate we need to know how long did the flame held.’

Such methane flames are known in lakes with more static water but are less common in rivers. 

‘It didn’t seem to affect the fishing. I caught quite a lot of pike.’

Evgeny Terentyev

Evgeny Terentyev

Evgeny Terentyev

Comments (3)

Methane seeps from the ground all over the place - all the time. Estimates are suggesting there's over 70.000 "vents" in the Pacific alone. Methane oxidizes when it comes in contact with oxygen - it becomes Carbon Dioxide (CO2).

All natural and nothing to worry about. We actually ned more of it ..
Roald J. Larsen, Norge
31/01/2019 00:21
No, we probably don't have to worry too much. Maybe if we don't catch any fish, then maybe worry.

Besides, currently in the Science News we find that half the methane in the Amazon rainforest is being given off by the trees. The trees do store CO2 - slowly - but in normal life they steadily release strong greenhouse gasses, much stronger than CO2 ... terpenes, isoprene, and 20 times stronger than CO2 - methane.

Sorry to be a pest ... but there are plain inconsistencies among the pictures in this story.

We see a water-gusher that is making a brown stain around itself, and a slushy mess from the water. No other pictures show either the stain, or the mess.

Not saying it is the case here ... but it could be figured out by smart people, bored in the depths of winter, to place BBQ lighter fluid in the hole (in a pan? please..), and enjoy some excitement.

Ice can often be pressing on the water below, and when a hole is drilled, then water comes up. If there is also air or gas trapped under the ice, then you can get a geyser. This is not a desirable situation, for a fishing-hole, because it makes such a mess. It can even flood the whole surrounding area ... 'overflow'.

Oh - and (pure) methane flames are invisible, not yellow. In the older school science-labs, we had special precautions, because Bunsen burners had zero visual clue, that they were burning. No 'flame'. Nowadays, I think students normally do not use 'straight' methane, primarily for this reason. (Consumer-fuels often have sodium chloride added; sodium imparts a strong, bright yellow to flames.)

The dirtiness of the water from the geyser-gusher is interesting. This might be because the hole is over very shallow water, in a mud-flat. Bottom-muck could be stirred-up ... and this is indeed just the kind of place that might generate & trap natural gas. No fish, though - too shallow - and a yucky mess around the hole.

... But then again, a hole that is spraying & spitting water is not going to be easy to light, even if it is also giving off flammable gases. The water puts it out.

The story & pics is intriguing - I'm not worried! - but maybe we could get some follow-up information on this?
Ted Clayton, Forks, Washington, USA
24/01/2019 23:18
seems like a ghost!
姚剑申, 巨鹿/中国
24/01/2019 07:37

Add your comment

We welcome a healthy debate, but do not accept offensive or abusive comments. Please also read 'Siberian Times' Privacy Policy



Add your comments

The views expressed in the comments above are those of our readers. 'Siberian Times' reserves the right to pre-moderate some comments.

Control code*

Type the code

* obligatory



The Bank of Russia official exchange rates of foreign currencies