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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
could methane if in enough quantity above the sea or ground etc ignite if struct by light(ning)?
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?
originally posted by: johnb
These have always been the biggest threat to raising temps in my opinion
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,
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.
Would that work?
Methane is not reaching the surface.
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