This is called a 'pingo," and its cooler than snot.
Its a methane bubble, a pimple full of gas in the Russian permafrost that is getting ready to pop. When it does pop it must be an awesome thing to see and hear; ice gets hurled a 100 feet in the air and leaves a big, deep pot mark, a crater that looks like this, below. Tell me THIS isn't neat:
These methane release craters were first discovered in 2014 in the Yamal Peninsula along the Kara Sea. The Artic Circle is just a hop, skip and jump from this region of Russia and its cold up here, brother.
The peninsula is occupied by Ninets, a nomadic tribe of reindeer headers that survive by following large reindeer herds. They stay warm thru their pelts, domesticate them to pull sleds, eat them and otherwise live a peaceful life in frozen Siberia without Whataburgers and cell phones. When they first began seeing these methane craters they were concerned that the world was coming to an end.
Sadly these indigenous people were beginning to already feel hemmed in before 2014 because their tribal lands were being surrounded by enormous gas fields and gas pipelines both onshore and in the Kara Sea.
There is so much natural gas in this part of Siberia Rosneft has built an enormous LNG facility in the Yamal Peninsula. East Prinovozemelsky Field alone is said to have 36G BO and 387 TCF of recoverable gas.
The methane craters were first believed to be a result of an unreported subsurface blowout from a nearby Russian gas well. Then they were believed to be meteor hits. Eventually Russian scientists sorted it out.
With just enough understanding of geology to get me in trouble occasionally drilling dry holes, I think this is methane gas from underlying source beds that has leaked off toward the surface and was trapped by permafrost, some of which is now melting in Siberia. At some point the permafrost no longer acts as an overburden seal and the pimple pops.
It must scare the shit out of caribou when they erupt.
These are frozen methane bubbles leaking off the lake bed of Baikal, also in Siberia. Baikal is the worlds largest fresh water lake and contains more water in it than all the North American Great Lakes combined. It is some 5, 400 feet deep in places and water visibility is so clear its possible to see 300 feet from the surface, down. These bubbles rise off the near shore lake bed, can be watched as they float to the top and eventually freeze some 20-30 feet below the surface.
Mother Nature is awesome !!