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Tito_Muerte
2004-Feb-25, 07:07 AM
(Sorry of this has been discussed already)


Can anyone shed any light on the subject raised in this past month's Discover (Cover Story) about methane bubbles rising up from the bottom of the ocean and killing us all?

(I figured since Asteroids to Old Faithful to global warming induced earth explosation (new word!) have all been discussed....why not giant packets of methane)

kenneth rodman
2004-Feb-25, 07:44 AM
so were going to die because our planet is passing to much gas?

Ut
2004-Feb-25, 07:51 AM
Hrmm. What kind of death? From explosions? From global warming? From being on ships that pass over these bubbles and sink?

Reacher
2004-Feb-25, 11:26 AM
And now, the obvious question:

What does this have to do with Die Hard 4?

Normandy6644
2004-Feb-25, 01:02 PM
And now, the obvious question:

What does this have to do with Die Hard 4?

Who knows? Yippy kai-ay (etc, etc :D )!

Iain Lambert
2004-Feb-25, 03:56 PM
Presumbly because its a natural disaster that Bruce Willis has yet to save us from.

Tito_Muerte
2004-Feb-25, 05:44 PM
Presumbly because its a natural disaster that Bruce Willis has yet to save us from.


are you kidding? who's going to save us from the natural disaster that is bruce willis? :P



Hrmm. What kind of death? From explosions? From global warming? From being on ships that pass over these bubbles and sink?


I dunno, that's what I'm posting here for, I only saw the cover, but I don't normally buy Discover....



What does this have to do with Die Hard 4?

I just felt it appropriate

SiriMurthy
2004-Feb-25, 06:13 PM
are you kidding? who's going to save us from the natural disaster that is bruce willis? :P


Ha ha. Rally funny. =D> :lol:

So is this a new conspiracy theory? Or has it been around for sometime?

Captain Kidd
2004-Feb-25, 06:31 PM
I've seen something like that before on the Discovery Channel. Basically, large deposits of methane are located in sections of the ocean floor. The fear is that global warming is warming the lower sections of the ocean and could gassify the methane. This will then help accelerate global warming and hence the oceans and liberate more methane, yadda, yadda, yadda.

My thought is that it's something some scientist(s) came up with as a what if theory and some journalist ran with it.

Ah ha! I found a way to link it to astronomy, NASA has a page (http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/intro/schmidt_02/) about it.
Here's a Science Daily (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040113080810.htm) website about it too.
And the Naval Research Laboratory (http://www.nrl.navy.mil/content.php?P=02REVIEW112) has an article and a nifty map.

There's also talk about mining it, but "fears that such attempts could cause the methane eruption everyone fears." My quote from what I vague remember from the show.

[edited to typo a correct]

Tito_Muerte
2004-Feb-25, 06:56 PM
ah, well thank you, that's the reply I've been looking for.





...so..basically it's like that fed-ex commercial.... We're All....Doomed.

milli360
2004-Feb-25, 07:32 PM
There's also talk about mining it, but "fears that such attempts could cause the methane eruption everyone fears." My quote from what I vague remember from the show.
One of the geologists in our department worked in this area. The oil drilling off the coast of Carolina was restricted, partly because of fears that the drills could puncture the bubbles, release pressure, and catastrophic outgassing would occur--as well as earthquakes from the release of pressure.

mike alexander
2004-Feb-26, 12:17 AM
Mylanta - The Lost Continent.

aurora
2004-Feb-26, 12:32 AM
Not the same thing, because it was freshwater instead of the ocean, and a different gas was involved, but I'm reminded of the lake (in Africa?) that killed an entire village when a large quantity of CO2 was released one night.

I saw a show on PBS about it (Nova?) awhile back.

Apparently, active volcanism caused outgassing which was trapped in the lake, at least until it reached a critical amount. It escaped, and since CO2 is heavier than nitrogen or oxygen, it flowed down the valleys and smothered people and animals.

Captain Kidd
2004-Feb-26, 02:58 AM
One of the geologists in our department worked in this area. The oil drilling off the coast of Carolina was restricted, partly because of fears that the drills could puncture the bubbles, release pressure, and catastrophic outgassing would occur--as well as earthquakes from the release of pressure.

Ah, thanks. The show I watched showed a ship sinking due to a methane release. The bubbles causes the water to lose density and the ship's relative displacement suddenly skyrockets. There's been accounts of ships sinking in seconds because of it. One of the thoughts of what's behind the Bermuda Triangle. The show also showed what you're talking about. Some oil rig hit a methane pocket and it looked like the ocean was boiling. But what I was mainly refering to was talk about mining the frozen methane itself. I think the NASA site talks about some of the methane, not associated with oil pockets, is in solid form.


Not the same thing, because it was freshwater instead of the ocean, and a different gas was involved, but I'm reminded of the lake (in Africa?) that killed an entire village when a large quantity of CO2 was released one night.

I saw a show on PBS about it (Nova?) awhile back.

Apparently, active volcanism caused outgassing which was trapped in the lake, at least until it reached a critical amount. It escaped, and since CO2 is heavier than nitrogen or oxygen, it flowed down the valleys and smothered people and animals.

Saw that show too (really, I don't watch that much TV :D); yeah the lake was in Africa. The lake still has large amounts of CO2 trapped below a thermocline (?) in colder water. It's seeping in from what I think is a volcanic crater that makes the lake bed. The end of the show showed a pipe that had been put into the lake as an experiment that allowed the CO2 to bubble out and relieve the pressure. However, that one was removed IIRC and plans were to put in a larger one, but civil strife, maybe even a civil war, has halted the government from doing anything and there's worries that it'll happen again. :(

milli360
2004-Feb-26, 02:21 PM
I think the NASA site talks about some of the methane, not associated with oil pockets, is in solid form.
I think if the pressure is released sufficiently, it could convert to gas?

yeah the lake was in Africa.

Lake Nyos.

Captain Kidd
2004-Feb-26, 03:15 PM
I think the NASA site talks about some of the methane, not associated with oil pockets, is in solid form.
I think if the pressure is released sufficiently, it could convert to gas?
Hmm, ah, ok temperature and 'high pressures' both play a factor. So if there's an oil pocket below it, then as the oil's pumped out, if nothing is put back in its place (isn't sea water pumped in or is my brain sabotaging me?) then that could release enough pressure to gassify the methane which could then bubble out. And the more I think back on it, I think they did focus really heavy on deep-sea drilling.




yeah the lake was in Africa.

Lake Nyos.
Thanks! I knew it was a short word.

mike alexander
2004-Feb-26, 05:47 PM
Just have to be careful in definitions. Methane hydrate is a solid where molecules of methane are trapped in a water lattice. Like any material, the solid is stable in certain ranges of its pressure/temperature phase diagram. Sitting under half a mile of water near 0 Celsius the material is perfectly stable. Bring it up to the surface at 1 atmosphere and it will decompose to liquid water and methane gas.

Mining the material (in the conventional sense of scooping it up and piling it in a barge, like coal) is therefore not possible. One would either have to move it to a place where it could be dissociated under controlled conditions or break it down in situ to release the methane.

milli360
2004-Feb-26, 07:45 PM
Sitting under half a mile of water near 0 Celsius the material is perfectly stable. Bring it up to the surface at 1 atmosphere and it will decompose to liquid water and methane gas.
I don't remember the details, but I seem to recall that the pressure of the overburden was important too--if an underwater earthquake where to shift that, the material might "explode" out.

mike alexander
2004-Feb-26, 09:19 PM
Yes, that is my understanding. It's going to depend on temperature, total pressure (water plus overburden). Deep enough and the material is (at least meta-) stable sitting exposed to the water column.

There's a lot of clathrate sitting off the Oregon coast. Been some speculation that metastable deposits can decompose catastrophically, causing underwater mudslides and related tsunamis. (What IS the plural of tsunami? Tsunami? Like Moose?). Related reports in the Black Sea.

I'm not a petroleum geologist/chemist, but isn't some of the pressure in oil deposits due to nat gas dissolved in the oil?

constible
2004-Feb-27, 02:23 PM
For the CO2 killing people in Africa, snopes has it here (http://snopes.com/horrors/freakish/smother.asp)

mike alexander
2004-Feb-27, 07:33 PM
http://www.netl.doe.gov/scng/hydrate/about-hydrates/conditions.htm

Above gives nice summary info on formation of methane hydrate, including phase diagrams and both oceanic and permafrost conditions for formation and stability.

man on the moon
2004-Feb-27, 07:54 PM
we had an interesting discussion in the IRC room last night about oil well fires. maybe someone could get a big match and light the methane when it starts to come up out of the water...that'd burn it off, no more global warming. :-?

only problem i guess would be how to get the spark there...no one would want to carry it i'm sure!

JohnOwens
2004-Feb-27, 08:43 PM
we had an interesting discussion in the IRC room last night about oil well fires. maybe someone could get a big match and light the methane when it starts to come up out of the water...that'd burn it off, no more global warming. :-?

only problem i guess would be how to get the spark there...no one would want to carry it i'm sure!

You weren't thinking of my carbide-acetylene story, were you? :oops: Not for public consumption!
Oh, wait, who is it that has the "two may keep a secret...." sig? :-k #-o

man on the moon
2004-Feb-27, 09:20 PM
i wasn't going to say anything detail oriented, only that we discussed it. now that you've opened the bag though...that was one (of many) interesting points brought up. rang a bell in my mind i guess you could say. :-s

spacechip
2006-Mar-26, 08:04 PM
http://www.netl.doe.gov/scng/hydrate/about-hydrates/conditions.htm

Above gives nice summary info on formation of methane hydrate, including phase diagrams and both oceanic and permafrost conditions for formation and stability.
Time marches on.

NETL apparently reorganized their site...

This may be a similar link:
http://www.netl.doe.gov/technologies/oil-gas/FutureSupply/MethaneHydrates/about-hydrates/conditions.htm

Nereid
2006-Mar-26, 09:55 PM
Moved from ATM to General Science (note that the thread was 2 years' old, until today).