Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Methane gushes from sea floor: Ominous eruptions: 'Huge gap in our understanding,' scientist warns

By Aussiegirl

An alarmist article drawing completely unsubstantiated conclusions from some interesting phenomena. But the methane gushing from the ocean floor completely corroborates Thomas Gold's theory about the "Deep Hot Biosphere", which is the name of a fabulous book by him on this subject.

His theory is that methane and other hydrocarbons, including petroleum, are NOT the products of lots of dinosaurs and ferns, but are natural products of the deep earth which are being produced all the time.

A large part of his theory has to do with the migration of methane deep within the earth which, when it finds fissures and is able to discharge in sudden quantities , may presage major earthquakes. Indeed he postulates this as a major cause of earthquakes and a way to predict them -- he recognizes the tectonic plate theory but says it is only part of the story.

As for the Arctic, it is melting, but it is because of all this volcanic undersea activity which no one understands. It has nothing to do with global warming caused by humans. And in any case, global warming would be far more benign than a new ice age which based on previous records could produce ice hundreds of feet thick in Canada and even as far south as New York.

Furthermore, the reference in the article to mud volcanoes is also right in line with Gold's theory. Too bad he died recently and is not here to see his theory being validated. Or maybe he's aware of it anyway? There's another mystery to ponder along with volcanoes and hydrocarbons seeping from the bowels of the earth.

Methane gushes from sea floor: Ominous eruptions: 'Huge gap in our understanding,' scientist warns

Scott Dallimore is not about to push the panic button. But the federal permafrost specialist says methane, one of the most potent gases associated with global warming, is bubbling out of mud volcanoes on the floor of the Beaufort Sea.

He and his colleagues at the Geological Survey of Canada have been sizing them up from ships. They have sent down remotely operated vehicles for a closer look. And they have been peering into holes in the sea ice created as the gas bubbles to the surface.

"They are fantastic things," Mr. Dallimore says of the "pingo-like features," or mud volcanoes, that are one of the wilder cards in the global warming equation.

Along with the methane bubbling out of the metres-high mounds on the sea floor, Mr. Dallimore says the gas is seeping out of permafrost in some areas. Scientists do not know how much gas is being released, if the rate of release is increasing or what the impact will be on the atmosphere.

"It is a huge gap in our scientific understanding," says Mr. Dallimore, echoing international reports that point to escaping methane as one of the ominous unknowns associated with the profound change underway at the top of the planet.


At 8:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exciting stuff - there are also reports that depleted fields in the Gulf of Mexico are refilling with oil from deep below!


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