Methane hydrates have been in the news lately after Japan announced in March that it had extracted natural gas from deep in the ocean floor! The source of the natural gas was methane hydrates, or methane molecules trapped in ice crystals. In reading a recent National Geographic article, I learned that “methane hydrates buried beneath the seafloor on continental shelves and under the Arctic permafrost are likely the world’s largest store of carbon-based fuel. The figure often cited, 700,000 trillion cubic feet of methane trapped in hydrates, is a staggering sum that would exceed the energy content of all oil, coal, and other natural gas reserves known on Earth.” Wow.
Below are links to resources about methane hydrates:
National Geographic: Pictures: Unlocking Icy Methane Hydrates, a Vast Energy Store, an excellent collection of photos with accompanying narrative
Department of Energy: Methane Hydrates
The Green Grok: Methane Hydrates: The Next Natural Gas Boom?