Warming Pacific Ocean May Release Millions of Tons of Methane

December 10, 2014 11:35 AM

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A warmer Pacific Ocean may have the potential to spark a runaway release of millions of tons of methane. Scientists have found that water at intermediate depths is warming enough to cause carbon deposits in the deep sea to melt, releasing methane into the sediments and surrounding water.

Off of the west coast of the United States, methane gas remains trapped in frozen layers beneath the sea floor. Methane itself is the main component of natural gas and at cold temperatures and high ocean pressure, it combines with water into a crystal called methane hydrate. The Pacific Northwest in...

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