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Gulf Coast Now Has More To Be Worried About...Tsunamis Caused by Gas Hydrate Destabilization

 
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Gulf Coast Now Has More To Be Worried About...Tsunamis Caused by Gas Hydrate Destabilization
A concern for drilling, climate change

[link to gtresearchnews.gatech.edu]

While the value of gas hydrates as a future energy source remains uncertain, the hazards they pose to production of conventional energy are clear. Oil companies are running out of reserves in shallow waters, forcing them to operate in areas where they may drill through hydrate formations. While they may eventually be able to produce energy from these hydrates, the more immediate concern is the potential hazards that gas hydrates may pose for oil drilling.
“If you are drilling into the gas hydrate, you have to worry that the hydrate could suddenly dissociate, leading to collapse of the sediment supporting the drill stem,” says Ruppel.
Perturbations of the sea floor can produce still bigger problems. Major sea floor slides can cause tsunamis, large oceanic waves that bring catastrophic damage to low-lying coastal areas.
Beyond energy interests, methane gas hydrates may also play a role in global warming. Even slight warming could free significant amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
“You’d have to warm the deep ocean waters by just a few degrees,” notes Ruppel. “There is a time delay built into the system, so it would take quite a while for the sediments to heat up. But if even a portion of the methane released from hydrates gets out of the oceans and into the atmosphere, it could exacerbate global warming and lead to a synergy between destruction of hydrate, release of methane and climate change.”
As an alternative source of energy, a hazard to conventional energy production and a global warming concern, “burning ice” is indeed a contradiction.

Last Edited by 2cents on 05/09/2010 03:35 AM
2cents (OP)

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Re: Gulf Coast Now Has More To Be Worried About...Tsunamis Caused by Gas Hydrate Destabilization
[link to www.oceannavigator.com]

However, there is a danger. When hydrates destabilize, the gas they release expands rapidly to 160 times the hydrate's volume. If a sufficiently large piece of hydrate "melts," a catastrophic and rapid release of methane gas would follow. Another danger lies in the balloon-through-the-keyhole effect. The free methane below the hydrate layer is light, and constantly presses against the hydrate layer. As long as the hydrate is relatively strong and thick, it holds the gas in check, but if enough gas builds up, even small openings in the hydrate begin to leak. Dr. Daniel Orange, a research scientist at U.C. Santa Cruz and Head of the Marine Geosciences Division of AOA Geophysics, described it this way. "It's rather like trying to push an inflated balloon through a keyhole. At first, the tension on the balloon prevents it from going into the keyhole. As more and more of the balloon is forced through the opening the going gets easier until, at the midway point, the balloon suddenly shoots out the hole."

The resulting natural blowout has all the force of the one described by Captain McLaren. This could prove dangerous to more than just the ship mining the deposit. Because the hydrate is mechanically strong, it forms an important part of the structural integrity of the sea floor. If the slope of the sea floor is steep enough, the sudden weakening can cause a submarine landslide. This, in turn, could cause further destabilization of hydrates and lead to further landslides.

Large-scale collapses While this may sound fanciful, even alarmist, there is evidence that large-scale collapses and landslides have occurred in the recent (geological) past along the eastern seaboard of North America. A recent research cruise headed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute researchers (and supported by the National Science Foundation) found evidence for 18,000-year-old landslides (the scarps are 60 miles wide!) and more recent pockmarks more than three miles long. The largest landslide in the world lies under the water in offshore Norway. The Storegga slide was so vast, the tsunami it generated may well have washed over Iceland, no small feat for a few bubbles of methane.
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Re: Gulf Coast Now Has More To Be Worried About...Tsunamis Caused by Gas Hydrate Destabilization
bsflag
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Re: Gulf Coast Now Has More To Be Worried About...Tsunamis Caused by Gas Hydrate Destabilization
There was a theory that this is what caused ships to suddenly disappear in the Bermuda triangle.
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Re: Gulf Coast Now Has More To Be Worried About...Tsunamis Caused by Gas Hydrate Destabilization
These water/methane hydrate cages are a trip. !!
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Re: Gulf Coast Now Has More To Be Worried About...Tsunamis Caused by Gas Hydrate Destabilization
[link to www.aapg.org (secure)]

Collett, who delivered a paper on the subject at last year's AAPG Wallace C. Pratt Memorial Conference on Petroleum Provinces in the 21st Century, believes that along with the vast possibilities, there are considerable uncertainties.

For starters, Collett lists three main issues.

There are hazards involved.

Typically, when a conventional drilling installation is set up on the ocean floor that will drill through the hydrate crystals, the gas can become separated from the water, causing an explosion. Also, this separation can upset the solidity of the sediment on the ocean floor, creating a landslide effect.

The latter is not a danger on Arctic land surfaces, but the explosion danger is there.

It is not yet clear whether these methane gases can be harvested in an environmentally safe way without contributing to the greenhouse effect,or destabilizing continental margins, possibly triggering undersea landslides and potentially cataclysmic tsunami waves.

Some experts point to evidence that massive, naturally occurring releases of these gases in the past contributed to abrupt changes in the earth's climate, as well as towering tsunami waves like one that wreaked havoc in northern Europe 8,000 years ago.

The harnessing of these gases as an energy resource is a difficult proposition, although, in this issue, real progress has been made.

Last Edited by 2cents on 05/09/2010 02:29 AM
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Re: Gulf Coast Now Has More To Be Worried About...Tsunamis Caused by Gas Hydrate Destabilization
There was a theory that this is what caused ships to suddenly disappear in the Bermuda triangle.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 964870

Maybe but it doesnt explain it for the planes flying over it though.
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Re: Gulf Coast Now Has More To Be Worried About...Tsunamis Caused by Gas Hydrate Destabilization
There was a theory that this is what caused ships to suddenly disappear in the Bermuda triangle.

Maybe but it doesnt explain it for the planes flying over it though.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 950674

Unless the planes engines suddenly became oxygen starved.
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Re: Gulf Coast Now Has More To Be Worried About...Tsunamis Caused by Gas Hydrate Destabilization
Before Nininger confirmed the presence of meteorites, Arizona's meteor crater was believed by geologists to be caused by a naturally occurring methane explosion-

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Re: Gulf Coast Now Has More To Be Worried About...Tsunamis Caused by Gas Hydrate Destabilization
Just got here bump
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05/09/2010 02:31 PM
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Re: Gulf Coast Now Has More To Be Worried About...Tsunamis Caused by Gas Hydrate Destabilization
bump

Another good thread. Excellent points and research, OP.
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05/09/2010 10:00 PM
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Re: Gulf Coast Now Has More To Be Worried About...Tsunamis Caused by Gas Hydrate Destabilization
bump

Another good thread. Excellent points and research, OP.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 933793
Anonymous Coward
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05/09/2010 10:45 PM
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Re: Gulf Coast Now Has More To Be Worried About...Tsunamis Caused by Gas Hydrate Destabilization
There was a methane escape off of the bottom of a lake in Africa that killed a bunch of people. This is of course on a much smaller scale than what this article talks about, but of a similar dynamic.

In the Africa situation most of those who died died because of asphixiation ... not the water wave that was generated.
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05/09/2010 11:59 PM
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Re: Gulf Coast Now Has More To Be Worried About...Tsunamis Caused by Gas Hydrate Destabilization
damned

Again.
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05/10/2010 12:02 AM
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Re: Gulf Coast Now Has More To Be Worried About...Tsunamis Caused by Gas Hydrate Destabilization
Tsunamis won't occur due to this leak
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05/10/2010 01:49 AM
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Re: Gulf Coast Now Has More To Be Worried About...Tsunamis Caused by Gas Hydrate Destabilization
Tsunamis won't occur due to this leak
 Quoting: Fool 902341

don't be so sure. any resevoir engineers on glp? resevoirs are dynamic things and given that this one is huge with a high percentage of gas, this one is very dangerous.

methane pockets rise, obviously, and have been documented to stall motors on aircraft. methane chokes combustion motors easily. this is also an answer to a prevoius poster about planes over the bermuda triangle.
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05/10/2010 12:43 PM
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Re: Gulf Coast Now Has More To Be Worried About...Tsunamis Caused by Gas Hydrate Destabilization
bump

Another good thread. Excellent points and research, OP.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 933793

thumbs
Rex Khristos

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05/29/2010 01:52 AM
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Re: Gulf Coast Now Has More To Be Worried About...Tsunamis Caused by Gas Hydrate Destabilization
There was a theory that this is what caused ships to suddenly disappear in the Bermuda triangle.

Maybe but it doesnt explain it for the planes flying over it though.

Unless the planes engines suddenly became oxygen starved.
 Quoting: 2cents

And or explosion rich
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