GHGSat said the plumes detected at Raspadskaya may have been released intentionally, as a safety measure, since the gas can seep out of mines and ignite with potentially deadly outcomes. Two methane explosions and a fire killed 91 people at this mine in 2010, one of the worst such disasters in post-Soviet times.
A private company that uses satellites to spot sources of methane emissions around the globe said Wednesday that it detected one of the largest artificial releases of the potent greenhouse gas ever seen, coming from a coal mine in Russia earlier this year, AP reports.
Montreal-based GHGSat said one of its satellites, known as ‘Hugo,’ observed 13 methane plumes at the Raspadskaya mine in Siberia on Jan. 14. The incident likely resulted in about 90 metric tons of methane being belched into the atmosphere in the space of an hour, the company calculated.
“This was a really, really dramatic emission,” Brody Wight, GHGSat’s director of energy, landfills and mines told The Associated Press.
Cutting down methane emissions caused by fossil fuel facilities has become a priority for governments seeking to take quick, effective steps against climate change. That’s because methane is powerful heat-trapping gas second only to carbon dioxide, which stays in the atmosphere for longer.
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