View Full Version : Methane and Methane Hydrate Could Soon Be The Cause Of Human Extinction

Peter Lemkin
07-16-2014, 09:38 AM
At War With Reality: The Absolute Insanity of Humanity's Rulers.

By Michael Byron (http://www.opednews.com/author/author5788.html)

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"You are the crown of creation and you've got no placeto go. Soon you'll attain the stability you strive for, in theonly way it's granted: In a place among the fossils." Jefferson Airplane, Crown of Creation http://www.opednews.com/populum/uploaded/220px-venuspioneeruv-1--5788-20120803-26.jpg

Imagine that somewhere out in the vastness of the Cosmos,there exists a species that knows, or reasonably should know, that its economyis organized in such a manner as to inevitably trigger its own total extinction, likely within the lifetimes of all but the oldest members of that species.Suppose that this species' collective reaction was to simply ignore thisunpleasant reality and continue with business as usual!

Such a species would surely be thought of as not only doomedto extinction, but perhaps deserving ofthat fate. Surely, though, no seemingly intelligent, technologically adapt speciesas this could exist in reality--right?
Think again. Such a species does indeed exist--it's US!
Thepresent moment represents the final interlude before our self-triggeredextinction becomes unstoppable. Right now between one and ten TRILLION tons ofmethane ices exist in shallow (i.e. less than 100 meters/yards) waters in theArctic Ocean. (1) This means that the ONLY thing preventing these ices from sublimating(transitioning directly from a liquid to a gas) is the year-round icytemperatures of the water in which they are immersed.
Unfortunately, the arctic is warming MUCH faster than is therest of the planet. As a consequence sea ice is projected to disappear entirelyin this ocean during late summer within one to two years. (2)
This is a critical threshold because so far most of theenergy warming this ocean has been taken up melting the surface ices. Once thatis no longer true, the methane ices just below the surface (methane can existin ice form in as little as 20 feet of water at Arctic Ocean temperatures) willbegin to sublimate in ever-growing amounts.
From that time, until the self-reinforcing process becomesunstoppable, is a period of no more than perhaps ONE decade. (3) Since theprocess of methane sublimation has already begun to accelerate, we may haveless time than this before temperature runaway occurs. (4) That is to say, itis very likely that by the middle of the next decade, humanity will have doomeditself to extinction.
Recently a group of very alarmed climate scientists,specializing in the arctic region, declared a planetary emergency and formedthe Arctic Methane Emergency Group (AMEG). (5) Since that time they have beentirelessly attempting to bring this issue and the absolute need to respondquickly to it to avert certain catastrophe to the attention of the world'sleaders--to little avail.
Among climate scientists, opinion is divided not overwhether the arctic methane ices will sublimate due to warming ocean waters, butonly as to WHEN this extinction-causing process will be triggered. Once it istriggered, we go extinct within the following 30-40 years. Game over forhumanity. Currently, the majority opinion of the climate scientists is thatthis won't be a problem until later in this century. (6)
That's it! The entire debate is whether we will trigger thisextinction event in the near future (ten years or less), or several decadesfrom now!
Those climate scientists arguing in favor of the near-termemergency tend to be specialists in the arctic, while those arguing otherwisetend not to be. All available evidence suggests that the near-term group have abetter command of the facts.
However, either way, we know with certainty that this arcticmethane "bomb" will "explode" killing all life on Earth within a matter ofdecades unless our CO2 emissions are RADICALLY reduced NOW. Yet, we doessentially nothing!
Put very simply: our entire human organizational system--political,economic, even cultural--is wildly out of synch with actual reality. We are allso caught up in our self-constructed worlds as to be oblivious to our certain impending doom.
Our planet is run by elites for elites, with public opinionmanufactured via corporate media to convince the masses that whatever servesthe interests of these elites, is actually the PUBLIC interest. The chancesthat this group--the .01 percent--can and will respond in time to the loomingexistential danger we face, can be computed with 100% accuracy: it is ZERO.
If the powers that be remain in control, we die--every human,every bird, every flower--all life dies. There will be no 22ndcentury, no starships, no romantic evenings--nothing but a second Venus orbitinglifelessly around the sun.
Humanity's leadership represents the worst of our species. Theirthinking is characterized by insatiable desire for power and wealth. Their timehorizon is always short term. They CANNOT provide the solutions required in thetime available.
Given this reality it is up to the rest of us to act--NOW.The indispensable requirement for our successful action is an informed global public.

Get the word out--it's now or never. Begin by reading theinformation available at Arctic News (http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/), the online journal of the concernedarctic climate scientists I've just mentioned. Encourage others to do so also.
We are rapidly approaching a point beyond which we cannot besaved from extinction. ACT. NOW.
We need to abandon fossil fuels regardless of costs. It isnot convenient, but nature does not bargain. It's either act now, or ourspecies goes extinct as part of the extinction of all the rest of life on Earth.
1) http://www.alternet.org/environment/giant-methane-monster-lurking
2) http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/warming-in-arctic.html
3) http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/warming-in-arctic.html
4) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125172113.htm
5) http://ameg.me/
6) http://americablog.com/2014/06/climate-news-arctic-seafloor-methane-release-double-previous-estimates-matters.html

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Peter Lemkin
07-16-2014, 11:18 AM
Methane Hydrate

The world's largest natural gas resource is trapped beneath permafrost and ocean sediments

The Next Energy "Game Changer"?

As natural gas (http://geology.com/energy/shale-gas/) from shale (http://geology.com/rocks/shale.shtml) becomes a global energy "game changer," oil and gas researchers are working to develop new technologies to produce natural gas from methane hydrate deposits. This research is important because methane hydrate deposits are believed to be a larger hydrocarbon resource than all of the world's oil, natural gas andcoal (http://geology.com/rocks/coal.shtml) resources combined. [1] If these deposits can be efficiently and economically developed, methane hydrate could become an energy game changer.

Enormous amounts of methane hydrate have been found beneath Arctic permafrost, beneath Antarctic ice and in sedimentary deposits along continental margins worldwide. In some parts of the world they are much closer to high-population areas than any natural gas field.

What is Methane Hydrate?

Methane hydrate is a crystalline solid that consists of a methane molecule surrounded by a cage of interlocking water molecules (see image at top right). Methane hydrate is an "ice (http://geology.com/articles/water-mineral/)" that only occurs naturally in subsurface deposits where temperature and pressure conditions are favorable for its formation. These conditions are illustrated in the phase diagram in the right column of this page.

If the ice is removed from this temperature/pressure environment it becomes unstable. For this reason methane hydrate deposits are difficult to study. They can not be drilled and cored for study like other subsurface materials because as they are brought to the surface the pressure is reduced and the temperature rises. This causes the ice to melt and the methane to escape.

Several other names are commonly used for methane hydrate. These include: methane clathrate, hydromethane, methane ice, fire ice, natural gas hydrate, and gas hydrate. Most methane hydrate deposits also contain small amounts of other hydrocarbon hydrates. These include propane hydrate and ethane hydrate.

Where Are the Methane Hydrate Deposits?

Four Earth environments have the temperature and pressure conditions suitable for the formation and stability of methane hydrate. These are: 1) sediment and sedimentary rock (http://geology.com/rocks/sedimentary-rocks.shtml) units below Arctic permafrost; 2) sedimentary deposits along continental margins; 3) deep-water sediments of inland lakes and seas; and, 4) under Antarctic ice (http://geology.com/articles/arctic-ocean-features/). [10]. With the exception of the Antarctic deposits, methane hydrate accumulations are not very deep below Earth's surface. In most situations the methane hydrate is within a few hundred meters of the sediment surface.


Deposit models for methane hydrate deposits at continental margins and under permafrost. [7]

In these environments methane hydrate occurs in the sediment as layers, nodules and intergranular cements. The deposits are often so dense and laterally persistent that they create an impermeable layer that traps natural gas moving upwards from below.


This map is a generalized version of locations in the USGS global inventory of natural gas hydrate occurrence database. [2]


One of the most extensively studied gas hydrate deposits is Blake Ridge, offshore North Carolina and South Carolina. Challenges of producing methane from this deposit are the high clay content and the low methane concentration. [3] This map is an example of the proximity of continental margin deposits to potential natural gas markets. Image by NOAA. [4]

In 2008, the United States Geological Survey estimated the total undiscovered gas hydrate resource for the Alaska North Slope area. They estimate that the total undiscovered natural gas resource in the form of gas hydrate ranges between 25.2 and 157.8 trillion cubic feet. Because very few wells have been drilled through the gas hydrate accumulations, the estimates have a very high level of uncertainty. [5]

Where is Methane Hydrate Produced Today?

To date there has been no large-scale commercial methane production from gas hydrate deposits. All of the production has either been small scale or experimental.

In early 2012, a joint project between the United States and Japan produced a steady flow of methane by injecting carbon dioxide into the methane hydrate accumulation. The carbon dioxide replaced the methane in the hydrate structure and liberated the methane to flow to the surface. This test was significant because it allowed the production of methane without the instabilities* associated with a melting gas hydrate. [6]

The most likely methane hydrate deposits to be selected for first development will have the following characteristics: 1) high concentrations of hydrate; 2) reservoir rocks with high permeability; and, 3) locations where there is an existing infrastructure. [7] Deposits meeting these characteristics will likely be located on the Alaska North Slope or in northern Russia.

Methane Hydrate Hazards

Methane hydrates are sensitive sediments. They can rapidly dissociate with an increase in temperature or a decrease in pressure. This dissociation produces free methane and water. The conversion of a solid sediment into liquids and gases will create a loss of support and shear strength. These can cause submarine slumping, landslides or subsidence that can damage production equipment and pipelines. [7]

*Sudden release of methane hydrates has been known to cause explosions of enourmous sizes. It is thought that some past global extinction events were caused by the release and/or explosion of large reserves of methane hydrate.

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas. Warmer Arctic temperatures could result in gradual melting of gas hydrates below permafrost. Warming oceans could cause gradual melting of gas hydrates near the sediment-water interface.

Drew Phipps
07-16-2014, 12:51 PM
I think that injecting CO2 into methane hydrate deposits results in a net loss for the fight against global warming. Not to mention the danger of "sea quakes" which might trigger an uncontrolled release of methane, similar to the way fracking is connected to the rise in earthquake activity in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas.