Navigation Links
Are methane hydrates dissolving?
Date:8/13/2012

The average temperatures of the atmosphere are rising; the average temperatures of the oceans, too. Not only living organisms react sensititvely to these changes. The transitional zones between shallow shelf seas and the deep sea at continental slopes store a huge amount of methane hydrates in the sea bed. These specific, ice-like compounds only forms at low temperatures and under high pressure. When the water temperature directly above the sea bed rises, some of the methane hydrates could dissolve and release the previously bound methane. "This scenario incorporates two fears: Firstly that enormous amounts of this very powerful greenhouse gas will be released into the atmosphere, and secondly that the continental slopes may become unstable" explains the geophysicist Professor Christian Berndt from GEOMAR | Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. He is leading an expedition starting today on the German research vessel MARIA S. MERIAN which will analyse the sea off the western shore of Spitsbergen in order to find out whether the first methane hydrates in the sea bed are dissolving and what the consequences might be.

The expedition builds on research conducted by marine scientists from Kiel who worked in this area of the sea in 2008. Back then they found over 250 places where gas was escaping the sea bed. "These spots lie directly on the border of the area of stable hydrates" explains Professor Berndt. "Therefore we presume that the hydrates are dissolving from the rim inwards."

During the upcoming expedition, the scientists from Kiel will be working together with colleagues from Bremen, Switzerland, Great Britain and Norway to discover whether the gas emanation shows signs of dissolved hydrates and whether this is due to warmer sea beds.

With the help of echo sounders, researchers will seek out new gas sources in order to determine the total amount of escaping gas. With Germany's only submersible JAGO, they will closely investigate the gas outlets in up to 400 metres depth. "It is interesting for us, for example, to find out whether special microorganisms that can break down the methane before it is released in the atmosphere have settled around the outlets" explains Professor Tina Treude from GEOMAR, who will be running the microbiological work during the expedition.

Parallel to this, geophysicists, lead by Professor Sebastian Krastel from GEOMAR, will investigate the slopes under the gas outlet spots for signs of instability using acoustic and seismic methods. "The methane hydrates act like binding cement on these slopes. If they dissolve, chances are that parts of the slopes will slide", explains Professor Krastel, who focuses on marine hazards at GEOMAR.

"Overall the program on this trip is very extensive. Now let us hope that the weather will play along so that we can conduct all planned tests", says the head of the expedition Christian Berndt shortly before the departure to Iceland.

The expedition at a glance:

FS MARIA S. MERIAN journey: MSM21/4
Chief Scientist: Prof. Dr. Christian Berndt (GEOMAR)
Length of Expedition: 13.08.2012-11.09.2012
Place of Departure: Reykjavik
Research Area: West of Spitsbergen
Place of Arrival: Emden
Further Information on the GEOMAR expedition page under www.geomar.de/forschen/expeditionen


'/>"/>

Contact: Jan Steffen
jsteffen@geomar.de
Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR)
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Microbes make clean methane
2. Stanford-Penn State scientists use microbes to make clean methane
3. Study: Seeping Arctic methane has serious implications for Florida coastline
4. Study: Seeking Arctic methane has serious implications for Florida coastline
5. Ammonites found mini oases at ancient methane seeps
6. Mafic melts, methane seeps, 2 million waves, foreign magma, and the invisible hand
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/2/2017)... Feb. 2, 2017  EyeLock LLC, a market leader ... white paper " What You Should Know About Biometrics ... ensuring user authenticity is a growing concern. In traditional ... users. However, traditional authentication schemes such as username/password suffer ... Biometric authentication offers an elegant solution to the problem ...
(Date:1/30/2017)... FRANCISCO , Jan. 30, 2017   Invitae ... the fastest growing genetic information companies, today announced that ... financial results and provide 2017 guidance on Monday, February ... conference call that day at 4:45 p.m. Eastern / ... Invitae,s management team will briefly review financial results, guidance, ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... , Jan. 24, 2017 Biopharm ... of the laboratory use of nuclear magnetic resonance ... experienced end-users and profiled current practices, developments, trends ... as well as growth and opportunities. These areas ... suppliers, NMR instruments, needs and innovation requirements, hyphenated ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)...  Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: CAPR), a biotechnology company developing ... that Linda Marbán, Ph.D, president and chief executive officer, is ... Cowen and Company 37th Annual Health Care Conference ... Boston, MA 29th Annual ROTH ... pm ET) Dana Point, CA ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... ANGELES, CA (PRWEB) , ... February 22, 2017 ... ... today announced that is has acquired Kendall Research Systems, LLC (KRS) ... Technology (MIT) that develops neural interface technology for research and clinical applications. The ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... ON (PRWEB) , ... February 22, 2017 , ... ... on discovery and development of precision treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, today announced it ... validate the ProMIS approach.” This is one of a series of commentaries from ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... Feb. 22, 2017 Aethlon Medical, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... a study that validated the ability of the Aethlon ... with increased mortality in immune-suppressed sepsis patients and also ... The objective of the study was to validate ... Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Herpes Simplex virus 1 (HSV1) ...
Breaking Biology Technology: