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What are gas hydrates?

Gas hydrates are a crystalline solid formed of water and gas. It looks and acts much like ice, but it contains huge amounts of methane; it is known to occur on every continent; and it exists in huge quantities in marine sediments in a layer several hundred meters thick directly below the sea floor and in association with permafrost in the Arctic. It is not stable at normal sea-level pressures and temperatures, which is the primary reason that it is a challenge to study. It is important for three reasons: (1) It may contain a major energy resource; (2) It may be a significant hazard because it alters sea floor sediment stability, influencing collapse and landsliding; and (3) The hydrate reservoir may have strong influence on the environment and climate, because methane is a significant greenhouse gas.


Learn more: Gas Hydrates Project

An assessment of gas hydrates lying under the North Slope of Alaska was released in 2008. 

Tags: Energy, Education, Gas, Oil, Gas Hydrates, Ecology