Enhanced lifetime of methane bubble streams within the deep ocean

Geophysical Research Letters (Impact Factor: 4.46). 08/2002; 29(15). DOI: 10.1029/2001GL013966

ABSTRACT 1] We have made direct comparisons of the dissolution and rise rates of methane and argon bubbles experimentally released in the ocean at depths from 440 to 830 m. The bubbles were injected from the ROV Ventana into a box open at the top and the bottom, and imaged by HDTV while in free motion. The vehicle was piloted upwards at the rise rate of the bubbles. Methane and argon show closely similar behavior at depths above the methane hydrate stability field. Below that boundary ($520 m) markedly enhanced methane bubble lifetimes are observed, and are attribute to the formation of a hydrate skin. This effect greatly increases the ease with which methane gas released at depth, either by natural or industrial events, can penetrate the shallow ocean layers.

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