Methane hydrates, also known as flammable ice, occur in many regions of the oceans. But only under high pressure and cold temperatures the product of methane and water forms a solid compound. If the pressure is too low or the temperature is too high, the hydrates decompose, and the methane is released as gas from the sea floor into the water column. Spitsbergen has been experiencing severe outgassing for several years. Does the methane originate from decomposed methane hydrates? What is the cause of the dissociation of the hydrates? Warming due to climate change or other, natural processes? An international team of scientists has now been able to answer this question, which has been published in the international journal Nature Communications.
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