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New tool for measuring frozen gas in ocean floor sediments
Date:2/26/2013

sub-seafloor carbon-dioxide storage sites. Methane hydrates are a potential energy resource that could be exploited in future. They may also contribute to geo-hazards such as seafloor landslides it is thought that earthquakes and the release of gas hydrates caused the largest-ever landslide, the Storegga Slide, around 8,000 years ago.

Professor Leighton said: "The three of us have collaborated in recent years in an experiment that used acoustics to take preliminary measurements of gas in the muddy sediments revealed at low tide. Those measurements, and the acoustic theory we developed to interpret the data, provided exactly the foundation we needed to undertake this critically important study that will be relevant to the seabed in somewhat deeper waters.

"As a greenhouse gas, methane is 20 times more potent per molecule than carbon dioxide. There is the potential for climate change to alter sea temperatures and cause more methane gas to be released from seabed hydrates into bubbles which reach the atmosphere. It is therefore vital that we have the tools to quantify and map the amount of methane that is down there."


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Contact: Kim Marshall-Brown
0238-059-6170
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (UK)
Source:Eurekalert  

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