Sunday, August 31, 2008

And Not A Fossil In Sight

Methane gas oozing up from Siberian seabed: Swedish researcher.

STOCKHOLM (AFP) — Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is leaking from the permafrost under the Siberian seabed, a researcher on an international expedition in the region told Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter on Saturday.

"The permafrost now has small holes. We have found elevated levels of methane above the water surface and even more in the water just below. It is obvious that the source is the seabed," Oerjan Gustafsson, the Swedish leader of the International Siberian Shelf Study, told the newspaper.

The tests were carried out in the Laptev and east Siberian seas and used much more precise measuring equipment than previous studies, he said.


Quantum_Flux said...

That is really cool! :)

Anaconda said...


As this Wikipedia entry describes, methane hydrates exist all across the world's seabeds. and as the entry states: "Methane hydrates are believed to form by migration of gas from depth along geological faults."

Where have we heard that before?

This is entirely consistent with Abiotic Oil Theory which states in part that the crustal regime is one of methane creation and hydrocarbon destruction.

More on methane hydrates from the U.S. Geological survey.

The point is that methane hydrate builds up in areas of the seabed where there is no build up of organic detritus.

Simply put, this is another example of Earth being an abiotic hydrocarbon forming planet.

Quantum_Flux said...

They are actually not just methane though, they are "gas hydrates".

Anaconda said...

Point taken. It's my understanding, in the cold and pressure, the methane is "captured" in the ice latice of the frozen water.

Is that right?

Quantum_Flux said...
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Quantum_Flux said...

Yes, typically it forms under pressures or at depths of 0.3 km according to USGS. The slower the water freezes the more crystalline the structure will be and the molecular ice structure will hold more methane, however, if the water is rapidly frozen, say by a pressure chamber being submerged into liquid nitrogen (although I don't think is observed in nature), it will form a glassy structure and would hold less methane. Lakes generally freeze more slowly and from the top downward, so I wouldn't be surprized if the botton of the surface ice layer of deep frozen lakes or in the ice shelfs of the poles contains large amounts of methane hydrates.

I think that methane hydrates might actually be formed from both, the decomposition of lake sludge or by the presence of abiotic methane, however I would argue that higher concentrations of methane or methane hydrates in lakes are more likely produced by abiotic means whereby lower concentrations of methane hydrates in frozen lakes would be produced by biological means.

Of course we know that the presence of any hydrocarbon n-alkanes with a carbon number above the level of methane are clearly abiotic in origin, and hence are appropriately called "gas hydrates" instead.