Researchers shocked to find thousands of spewing methane fountains in Arctic region

Wednesday, December 14, 2011
By Paul Martin

ExtinctionProtocol.com
December 14, 2011

ARCTIC – The Russian research vessel Academician Lavrentiev conducted a survey of 10,000 square miles of sea off the coast of eastern Siberia. They made a terrifying discovery – huge plumes of methane bubbles rising to the surface from the seabed. “He found more than 100 fountains, some more than a kilometer across,’ said Dr Igor Semiletov, “These are methane fields on a scale not seen before. The emissions went directly into the atmosphere. This is the first time that we’ve found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures, more than 1,000 meters in diameter. It’s amazing. Earlier we found torch or fountain-like structures like this,” Semiletov told the Independent. “Over a relatively small area, we found more than 100, but over a wider area, there should be thousands of them.” Semiletov’s team used seismic and acoustic monitors to detect methane bubbles rising to the surface. Scientists estimate that the methane trapped under the ice shelf could lead to extremely rapid climate change. Current average methane concentrations in the Arctic average about 1.85 parts per million, the highest in 400,000 years. Concentrations above the East Siberian Arctic Shelf are even higher. The shelf is shallow, 50 meters or less in depth, which means it has been alternately submerged or above water, depending on sea levels throughout Earth’s history. During Earth’s coldest periods, it is a frozen arctic coastal plain, and does not release methane. As the planet warms and sea levels rise, it is inundated with seawater, which is 12-15 degrees warmer than the average air temperature. In deep water, methane gas oxidizes into carbon dioxide before it reaches the surface. In the shallows of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, methane simply doesn’t have enough time to oxidize, which means more of it escapes into the atmosphere. That, combined with the sheer amount of methane in the region, could add a previously uncalculated variable to climate models. –Daily Mail

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