Strange lake belches flammable gas in the high Arctic

Lake Esieh is spewing vast amounts of methane — a potent greenhouse gas

September 8, 2017, was an exciting date for Katey Walter Anthony. On this cool, windless evening she first visited Alaska’s Lake Esieh. Few people visit this remote stretch of wilderness. It is covered in tundra and scraggly spruce trees. Thousands of lakes dot the region. But Walter Anthony quickly realized that this lake was strange. As her boat glided across it, she came to a place where the water seemed to be boiling.

The water wasn’t warm. But it roiled and fizzed. Bubbles of all sizes streamed up, popping at the surface. One bubble, as large as a softball, gave off a loud bloonk as it ruptured. The bubbles covered a swath of the lake larger than a football field. And they rose with such force that they slowly pushed her boat to the side.

Walter Anthony leaned over the edge of the boat and collected some bubbles in a bottle. Then she struck a match and opened the bottle to release the gas she had just collected. The gas caught fire! Read more.

Tags: Geology