The satellite measures the largest methane leakage from a coal mine – 90 tons per hour

In one hour, 90 tons of greenhouse gas were released into the atmosphere: experts describe it as perhaps the largest methane leak ever observed. Climate harmful gas comes from a coal mine in Russia.

According to a private satellite company, a coal mine in Siberia has released a huge amount of climate-harmful greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere. According to that, 90 tons of gas were discharged in one hour last January. Methane, along with carbon dioxide, is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

The leak came from the Raspadskaya mine in the Kemerovo region, Russia’s largest coal mine. According to the satellite company GHSat, it is about 50 percent larger than any other leak the company has seen since the launch of global satellite tracking in 2016. “It was a really dramatic explosion,” said Brody Wight, an expert at GHGSat. Several private and government satellites to detect methane leaks have been launched in recent years.

Manfredi Caltagirone, head of the International Observatory on Methane at the United Nations Environment Program, also said he was unaware of any major methane leaks from the coal mine.

What about emissions?

The amount of methane apparently was released intentionally. Because the element has explosive properties: the gas can ignite underground and endanger the safety of miners. Back in 2010, two methane explosions and a fire killed 91 people in the mine. However, according to experts, there are also ways to get rid of gas mines, even more gently. The gas can be collected and used as fuel.

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