In February 2018, a blowout at a natural gas well in rural Ohio forced nearby residents to evacuate, but the incident received little national attention at the time.
A new analysis of satellite data shows that the leak was far more significant than previously thought.
In just 20 days, the damaged well platform spewed an estimated 60 kilotons of the potent planet-warming gas methane into the atmosphere, scientists say.
That’s more methane than European countries like France, Spain and Norway release in a year.
It appears the peak emission rate was twice as great as the second largest leak ever measured in the United States, the scientists say.
The discovery was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and was made by a group of Dutch and American scientists, who used new satellite technology to detect and measure the size of the leak during a routine global survey.
Photo credit: CNN video.