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'Widespread methane leakage' from ocean floor off US coast

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posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 02:25 AM
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The unexpected discovery indicates there are large volumes of the gas contained in a type of sludgy ice called methane hydrate...."It is the first time we have seen this level of seepage outside the Arctic that is not associated with features like oil or gas reservoirs or active tectonic margins," said Prof Adam Skarke from Mississippi State University, who led the study...."The methane is dissolving into the ocean at depths of hundreds of metres and being oxidised to CO2," said Prof Skarke....Prof Skarke and his colleagues estimate that worldwide, there may be around 30,000 of the type of seeps they have discovered.

They acknowledge that this is a rough calculation but they believe that it could be significant.

While the vents may not be posing an immediate global warming threat, the sheer number means that our calculations on the potential sources of greenhouse gases may need revising.

The scientists also found abundant life around many of these seeps, but not perhaps as we know it.

The creatures they describe are termed chemosynthetic, meaning they derive energy from chemical reactions and not from the Sun as do photosynthetic organisms.




What is methane hydrate?

Methane hydrate is in the form of a 3D ice structure with natural gas locked inside
The substance looks like white ice, but it does not behave like it
If methane hydrate is either warmed or depressurised, it will break down into water and natural gas
The energy content of methane occurring in hydrate form is immense
In the Gulf of Mexico, gas hydrate resources have recently been assessed at more than 6,000 trillion cubic feet
Source: US Department of Energy


These have always been the biggest threat to raising temps in my opinion




posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 03:39 AM
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a reply to: johnb

Fantastic information I wonder if other areas around the world have been tested for leaks of this level, or are we going to get a huge shock.

I have two questions regarding this type of leak, could methane if in enough quantity above the sea or ground etc ignite if struct by light? Also is this happening in other ploaces around the world?



posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 04:03 AM
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a reply to: Shiloh7


could methane if in enough quantity above the sea or ground etc ignite if struct by light(ning)?


You mean if like there was an undersea earthquake or volcano something that shook the seafloor enough and sent a ton of this stuff to the surface all at once where it formed a huge cloud on a still day and when mixed with the proper amount of oxygen and some boat or plane sailed through it and touched it off?

Hmmm, that would be something. Not sure if you would get a big Babooom or a big Vavoof. We could experiment a bit. If we could get ahold of a nuclear bomb and drop it in the ocean there…



posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 04:44 AM
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originally posted by: Shiloh7
a reply to: johnb

Fantastic information I wonder if other areas around the world have been tested for leaks of this level, or are we going to get a huge shock.

I have two questions regarding this type of leak, could methane if in enough quantity above the sea or ground etc ignite if struct by light? Also is this happening in other ploaces around the world?


There are huge methane hydrate deposits off the coasts of Norway, Canada and Japan, as well as all kinds of other areas. There are also vast deposits off the Northern coast of Siberia. I'm now officially freaked out. We've hit a tipping point. Methane hydrates are normally very stable as long as the water above them is cold. If it's changing to the point that they are destabilising and rising to the surface of the ocean then we are in big trouble. Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, which is bad enough in itself.



posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 05:04 AM
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a reply to: johnb

What happened in the golf a few years ago? Lol drilling and huge oil spill that is still leaking out.. Every time they drill oil underwater this happens. I am not surprised by the amounts being released. But maybe someone will put two and two together and outlaw this crap and go green.. Ah well I could wish but greed won't let it happen. One thing they need to realize is money don't mean crap if there is no one else around to show it off to.



posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 10:28 AM
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bet this is a cycle, perhaps a +100 Million year cycle...where methane is being outgassed by magnitudes above 'normal'

I propose that the Earth core heating up, thus heating the mantle layer is what is causing the ocean-floor dissolving of the hydrates and the volcanism all over the globe... is helping to heat up the tundra permafrost-- heat from both the atmosphere and the land beneath the permafrost

the proliferation of sinkholes is also related to this outgassing cycle...
where are the scientists that 'think-outside-the-box' on this increasing problem



posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 11:33 AM
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originally posted by: johnb

These have always been the biggest threat to raising temps in my opinion


Couldn't agree more!

It definitely shows that the chain-reaction has begun. Just like the methane releases coming from the thawing of the frozen tundra in the Arctic region, this is bad news.

At this point, I think it's going to take more than just cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions to reverse what we're seeing. IMO, we're definitely going to have to develop the ability to recapture these gases on a mass scale, as well as a safe method of storing them afterwards.

On the other hand, you should fully expect that our resident climate change deniers here on ATS will insist that these are nothing more than harmless earth farts.



posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 12:01 PM
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The other greenhouse gas.

Far more effective than CO2 in massive quantities. Maybe it will help tip the debate into the net for the human caused climate change team?



posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 12:18 PM
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a reply to: Shiloh7

You would need an awfully high concentration, in consideration. It would be poisonous for O2 sustained life, before it was that flammable or explosive.



posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 12:25 PM
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a reply to: ausername

Yes, first the denialists will insist it's not important, and then when it gets bad they will to insist it was all some "natural cycle" (without strong evidence) and use this as proof.
edit on 9-9-2014 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 12:28 PM
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originally posted by: St Udio
bet this is a cycle, perhaps a +100 Million year cycle...where methane is being outgassed by magnitudes above 'normal'

I propose that the Earth core heating up,


It's the ocean temperatures which are heating up, not the core (there is no mechanism to do so). They're heating from the top down because of increased greenhouse effect, most of change coming from humans.

www.nodc.noaa.gov...

Look first at the 0-700 and then the shorter 0-2000 m series which is increasing even faster. Which means that the excess heat is finally getting way deep down.

This is going to make the feedback worse, not a self-regulating mechanism, but a self-deregulating mechanism.

If you piss off Mother Nature, She will do more than flip you the bird.
edit on 9-9-2014 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 02:03 PM
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a reply to: johnb


I say we Tax the Methane.

For every cubic meter released, the methane have to release 80% to us, no excuses, delivered by jellyfish with proper identification of the federal waves!

That will teach them!

( Then we burn the methane ourselves ; )



posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 03:18 PM
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Wasn't this already covered on here?



posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 03:52 PM
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It's been known for years that the methane hydrate was very unstable, and even a low rise in temperature could cause it to be desintegrate. People said this was gonna happen, the question is, is this happening just recently, or is it going on for a long time already ?

Read the Swarm by a German author called Robert schattze... I think. He writes about this stuff, and wrappes it in a great sci-fi/science story. Almost a 1000 pages, and I read it at least 3 times.
edit on 9/9/2014 by Sinter Klaas because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 05:35 PM
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With respect,reducing this to the one-dimensional topic of resource management, government-corporate exploitation, and or carbon-credit voodoo; risks missing another very important point about these 'fields' of methane.

These aren't just little bubbles of some volcanic or fossil-fuel-deposits' gases. What we may be seeing is the seed of life for long after we, as a species, are out of the planetary equation. (It won't matter much that we either found another place to live, or squeezed the environment dry through the aforementioned "management and/or exploitation."

They need nothing but whats already down there; and these people often fail to mention that such ecosystems exit, and likely have been for ... oh I don't know, ages? I think before we start banging ideological drums, we really should have a solid understanding of this new environment (which, incidentally, may be what we encounter off-planet in the future.)

This methane-life cycle is dependent on a small array of microorganisms that seem to have evolved specifically to reap chemical energy from volcanic processes.

Anyway..., it was just a thought.



posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 07:27 PM
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a reply to: johnb
Carbon tax Neptune and Poseidon. They should have plenty after all these millennia.



posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 07:30 PM
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originally posted by: Flatfish
On the other hand, you should fully expect that our resident climate change deniers here on ATS will insist that these are nothing more than harmless earth farts.


Yup
First prove CO2 actually influences temps. Then we'll worry about the farts



posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 07:46 PM
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a reply to: Maxmars
I think what's argued is life started on the surface and then it worked its way down and into different environments underground. Can the surface be submerged? And did it start with photosynthesis?

Some believe life started in the oceans rather than underground or on surface:
phys.org - Metabolism may have started in our early oceans before the origin of life...
www.rsc.org - Did life begin at the bottom of the ocean?...
www.spacedaily.com - Hydrothermal Vents Could Explain Chemical Precursors to Life...
edit on 9-9-2014 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 01:11 AM
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Maybe we should send the entire worpds military fleet of jets over big methane releases whenever they occur and light it up from the fire of the jet engines. Would that work?



posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 01:37 AM
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a reply to: funkadeliaaaa



Would that work?


I guess you don't read much. Right there in the quote in the OP.

Prof Adam Skarke from Mississippi State University, who led the study...."The methane is dissolving into the ocean at depths of hundreds of metres and being oxidised to CO2
Methane is not reaching the surface.

The thing is, we really have no idea how long these "seeps" have been occurring because we haven't been looking for them very long. We don't know if it's a new thing or not. How it relates to global warming is not even subject to rational speculation at this point.

edit on 9/10/2014 by Phage because: (no reason given)




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