Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Giant methane craters discovered in the Barents Sea

Touche Guy McPherson! You’d think, gien its importance for humanity that this would be global headlines rather than being silenced.

But people get threatened for revealing such information.
Giant Seafloor Craters and Thriving Fauna: Methane Seepage in the Arctic

Press conference, at European Geosciences Union General Assembly 19 April 2016.

Study: Ice-sheet-driven methane storage and release in the Arctic

The Arctic contains much of the natural methane on Earth, trapped in permafrost and under the seafloor. As temperatures in the region rise, this powerful greenhouse gas is being slowly released, first into the ocean and eventually reaching the atmosphere.

In this press conference, researchers will reveal how structures such as giant craters signal marine methane release, and what high concentrations of methane might mean for seafloor fauna.


Malin Waage
PhD Candidate, CAGE – Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate, Department of Geology, UiT the Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway

Emmelie K.L. Åström
PhD Candidate, CAGE – Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate, Department of Geology, UiT the Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway

Related scientific session:

Methane and fluid flow in the marine and terrestrial realm: geo(physical) aspects, biogeochemical cycling, microbial metabolisms, environmental impacts and climate change

Release via



Press Conferences at the 2016 General Assembly

Huge Underwater Methane Craters Discovered In The Arctic

26 November, 2014

Craters up to a kilometer (0.6 miles) wide have been found within the Barents Sea off the northern coast of Norway. As reported by the Sunday Times, these are likely to be due to unstable build-ups of methane, a notoriously volatile and at times explosive natural gas. Details are few and far between at present, although researchers at the Arctic University of Norway are due to present their findings in detail at the annual European Geoscience Union conference this coming April.

Multiple giant craters exist on the sea floor in an area in the west-central Barents Sea... and are probably a cause of enormous blowouts of gas,” the research team told the Sunday Times. “The crater area is likely to represent one of the largest hotspots for shallow marine methane release in the Arctic.” Although these huge methane bubbles could perhaps take out a ship or two sailing in these shallow waters, the links that several journalistic outlets are making with the Bermuda Triangle may be a bit of a stretch.

Methane under certain conditions is stored as a compound known as methane hydrate. Vast caches of it are found both beneath the seabed and in great expanses of long-term snow – known as permafrost – within tundra climates, particularly in Siberia and Alaska.

Due to man-made climate change, the world is warming at an unprecedented rate, which is beginning to unlock these caches. Melting permafrost unleashes methane gas, the second-most dangerous global warming greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere, causing it to warm further. Within the oceans, the hydrates are becoming increasingly unstable due to both warming and increasing acidification.

If an entire “chunk” of these hydrates suddenly becomes unstable, a lot of methane gas can escape at once. This can generate craters, such as those found beneath the surface of the Barents Sea. It’s difficult to estimate how much energy is being released in these crater forming “explosions,” but it’s not unreasonable to suggest that – at over half a mile across each – they could be energetic enough to sink ships passing above them.

This methane forcing itself up from the depths has likely happened before, around 56 million years ago. The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) was a sudden and catastrophic warming event that bumped up the world’s temperature by 5 to 8°C (9 to 15°F) in just 20,000 years, and researchers have thought that a massive methane hydrates release is to blame.

However, the link with the Bermuda Triangle, which is off the eastern coast of Florida, is somewhat tenuous – this study doesn’t appear to have anything to do with this part of the world. Nevertheless, gargantuan methane bubbles have been cited before as a possible ship-sinking phenomenon in the Triangle. Even if they don’t cause a damaging blast, a methane bubble is considerably less dense than the sea around it; if it rises up beneath a ship, it could cause it to suddenly sink.

There’s just one problem with this: The Bermuda Triangle doesn’t officially exist, in that it’s not recognized by various scientific institutions of the United States. It’s statistically no more dangerous than any other stretch of ocean, and perhaps most importantly of all, there has been no methane bubbling up from beneath it for at least 15,000 years.

30 Nov 2000

A TRAWLER found at the bottom of the North Sea may have sunk after being trapped in a giant gas bubble.

Scientists from the University of Sunderland discovered the fishing boat off Aberdeen, 450ft below the surface, on a patch of sea bed known as Witch's Hole. 

They think the crew were the victims of a rare and terrifying phenomenon.
Methane gas bubbling up from the seabed reduces the density of water to a point where a trawler can no longer float, said Alan Judd, a marine geologist who led the investigation. He said: "Any ship caught above would sink as if it were in a lift shaft. No trace of the vessel or its crew would remain. Even those who jumped overboard in lifejackets would sink.

Pictures from a robot submarine showed that the 75ft vessel, built between about 1890 and 1930, had suffered little damage and gone down horizontally. A report of how the trawler was found, shrouded in fishing nets, appears in New Scientist today.

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