Drudge reports methane at “levels only seen during mass extinction events” (PHOTOS)

Monday, July 19, 2010
By Paul Martin

July 19th, 2010

Oceanographer John Kessler analyzes methane levels from oil spill site, Texas A&M University College of Geosciences, July 2010:

Preliminary results show concentrations at some points to be a million times higher than normal, researcher says John Kessler, a chemical oceanographer in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University, is currently analyzing methane levels in water collected from seven miles to 500 meters from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead. …

Drudge Report Headline (July 19, 2010)

“Methane levels ranged from 10,000 to nearly 1 million times higher in some spots than normal concentration,” Kessler said.

The 10-day cruise, which was funded by a National Science Foundation Rapid Response grant, returned June 21 with nearly 1 million data points gathered. Since that time, he and his colleagues have been analyzing the results in the shore-based lab at Texas A&M.

Ramifications are multifold, Kessler said… Naturally occurring methane seeps have been linked to rapid climate change. For instance, an event occurring 55 million years ago may have caused one of these spikes, scientists believe.

CAPTION: Funded by a $160,000 NSF [National Science Foundation] grant, Kessler’s team of researchers from Texas A&M University measured methane levels in the Gulf to draw conclusions about environmental impacts of the spill, including oxygen depletion in the water (hypoxia) and greenhouse emissions as the methane rises to the surface (see photos below).

CAPTION: Kessler on the stern of the R/V Cape Hatteras in the Gulf oil spill.

CAPTION: Dr. John Kessler (TAMU) and Dr. David Valentine (UCSB) near the broken well head.

CAPTION: Kessler and TAMU grad student Xinxin Li sampling oil in the Gulf spill.

CAPTION: Kessler sampling methane for natural isotopic analyzes.

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