Methane chimney

Methane chimney
Illustration showing methane chimney from sea floor to surface.

A methane chimney or gas chimney is a rising column of natural gas, mainly methane within a water or sediment column. Large deposits of frozen methane, when thawing, release gas into the environment.[1] In cases of sub-sea permafrost, the methane gas may be dissolved in the seawater before reaching the surface. However, in a number of sites around the world, these methane chimneys release the gas directly into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.[2] In some locations along Russia’s northern coast, methane rising from the sea floor to the surface has caused the sea to foam.[3] In hydrocarbon exploration, gas chimneys revealed on seismic reflection data are indicators of active gas migration[4] and a working petroleum system.


Trees as methane chimneys

Trees in swampy, low-laying areas can actually conduct methane produced in soils up through their stems and out their leaves. It has been known for years that plants in bogs and marshes also act in this way. This accounts for approximately 60 teragrams, or about 10% of global annual production.[5]

Known sites

See also


  1. ^ Connor, S. (23 September 2008). "Exclusive: The methane time bomb". The Independent (London). Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  2. ^ "Oh Floe! Melting Ice Releases Millions of Tons of Methane Gas". 2008-09-24. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  3. ^ "Yale Environment 360: Numerous Methane `Chimneys’Discovered by Vessel in Russian Arctic". 2008-09-23. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  4. ^ Schroot, B.M.; Schüttenhelm R.T.E.. "Expressions of shallow gas in the Netherlands North Sea". Netherlands Journal of Geosciences 82 (1): 91–105. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  5. ^ "Trees: Another way to increase global methane? « Global Change". 2010-02-01. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  6. ^ "Quantifying the Methane Content of Natural Gas and Gas Hydrate Accumulations in the Deep-Water Basins of the Bering Sea, by Ginger A. Barth, David W. Scholl, and Jonathan R. Childs; #90035 (2004)". Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  7. ^ James Randerson, science correspondent (2008-09-23). "Methane release off Siberian coast prompts concern over runaway climate change | Environment |". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 

External links

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