Methane is stored under the sea floor, concentrated in form of hydrates, crystalline ice structures that stay stable under high pressure and in low temperatures. Several studies suggest that as the ocean warms, the hydrates might melt and potentially release methane into the ocean waters and atmosphere.Several studies suggest that as the ocean warms, the hydrates might melt and potentially release methane into the ocean waters and atmosphere. This potent climate gas is profusely leaking from the seafloor in an area offshore western Svalbard, which is close to the gas hydrate stability zone.There, scientists have discovered over 250 methane flares in water depths from 90 to 240 meters.“Previous studies indicate that these seeps could be linked to gas hydrate dissociations. We suspected that dissociation of gas hydrate is not the primary control on seafloor methane seepage. We suggest that there is a strong lithological control on methane seepage.” says Dr. Giuliana Panieri, scientist at CAGE.
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill has been spreading steadily and at a much greater rate than earlier determined. Like the Exxon-Valdez spill in Alaska, it is devastating to the affected marine ecosystems and has the potential to get much worse. For clean ocean and anti-drilling advocates, it represents the worst-case scenario they have been warning about. Now that the damage has been done, all that’s left is to contain it from affecting the shoreline and estuary systems of the gulf coast. In that effort, the federal government is deploying its resources in concert with BP (British Petroleum), owners of the Deepwater Horizon rig which exploded and sank.