2
$\begingroup$

We can see that there are large buildups of methane clathrates in permafrost regions. This seems different to the buildups of natural gas which fracking releases, which appear to have just come from escaped gases from oil/coal deposits.

My question is: Do we know how large deposits of methane clathrates were formed in permafrost regions?

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

Rotting vegetation generates methane, or marsh gas as it is sometimes called. The most obvious method by which clathrates were formed in Arctic regions is that many years ago during summer and autumn, rotting vegetation produced methane, which combined with water at cold temperatures to produce methane ice, otherwise known as clathrates. Extremely cold temperatures are not necessary to form clathrates. They form at the bottom of deep seas, where the temperature even in the tropics is a constant 4 or 5 C. There are huge deposits of clathrates on the deep ocean floor, and there has been talk of exploiting them commercially.

A theory to explain the Permo-Triassic extinction event of 250 million years ago hypothesises that super-eruptions in the Siberian Traps super-volcano raised temperatures enough to release vast quantities of methane from tundras and ocean beds, so that with the additional greenhouse gas the average temperature rose by about 10 C, causing the extinction of nearly 90 percent of all large animals, a greater mass extinction than the better known event at the end of the Cretaceous.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.