Gas bubbles create methane hydrate deposits, changing the climate. A study by scientists from the University of Texas made it possible to uncover the process of natural gas hydrate formations and their effect on the concentration of methane in the atmosphere. The work was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Gas hydrates are an ice-like substance in which gas molecules, usually methane, are molecules of frozen water under high pressure. fall into water ice cells under high pressure and low temperature. These formations are widespread in nature – they account for a significant proportion of organic carbon. It is likely that in the future people will learn how to extract energy from them – however, scientists still do not fully understand how they are formed and developed.
In a new study, physicists created a computer model of gas bubbles that pass through hydrate deposits. This is a common phenomenon, which, however, does not fit into existing physical theories.
The model made it possible to explain how gas hydrates form massive natural reservoirs – like the one under the Gulf of Mexico. In this reservoir, methane, the strongest greenhouse gas in the gaseous state, freely penetrates through hydrates in the bowels and enters the surface, and then into the Earth’s atmosphere.
Researchers have hypothesized that hydrates occur as a kind of natural barrier between gas and water, which allows gas to slowly seep into the water. Modeling showed that methane flowing through the bowels can accumulate in large hydrated reservoirs, which can have a significant impact on climate change, which has not yet been taken into account – and also become a target for new energy sources in the future.
“We believe that this model will be an important tool for future research on the evolution of large, highly concentrated hydrated formations”.
Dylan Meyer, lead author of the study