Methane hydrate; a major reservoir of carbon in the shallow geosphere?

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doi: 10.1016/0009-2541(88)90104-0
Author(s): Kvenvolden, Keith A.
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
U. S. Geol. Surv., Menlo Park, CA, United States
Volume Title: Origins of methane in the Earth
Volume Author(s): Schoell, Martin, editor
Source: Chemical Geology, 71(1-3), p.41-51; Geological Society of America annual meeting, Organic Geochemistry Division symposium on Origins of methane in the Earth, Phoenix, AZ, Oct. 26-29, 1987, edited by Martin Schoell. Publisher: Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands. ISSN: 0009-2541 CODEN: CHGEAD
Note: In English. 64 refs.; illus. incl. 2 tables, sketch map
Summary: Methane hydrates are solids composed of rigid cages of water molecules that enclose methane. Sediment containing these hydrates is found within specific P-T conditions that occur in regions of permafrost and beneath the sea in outer continental margins. Because methane hydrates are globally widespread and concentrate methane within the gas-hydrate structure, the potential amount of methane present in the shallow geosphere at subsurface depths < approx 2000 m is very large. Estimates of the amount are speculative and range over about three orders of magnitude, from 2 x 103 to 4 x 106 Gt (gigatons = 1015 g) of carbon, depending on the assumptions made. The estimated amount of organic C in the methane-hydrate reservoir greatly exceeds that in many other reservoirs of the global carbon cycle. In fact, the amount of C may exceed that in all fossil fuel deposits (5 x 103 Gt). Because methane hydrates contain so much methane and occur in the shallow geosphere, they are of interest as a potential resource of natural gas and as a possible source of atmospheric methane released by global warming. As a potential resource, methane hydrates pose engineering and production problems. As a contributor to a changing global climate, destabilized methane hydrates, particularly those in shallow, nearshore regions of the Arctic Ocean, may have some effect, but this will probably be minimal, at least during the next 100 yr.
Year of Publication: 1988
Research Program: DSDP Deep Sea Drilling Project
ODP Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 02 Geochemistry; Aliphatic hydrocarbons; Alkanes; Carbon; Gas hydrates; Geochemical cycle; Geochemistry; Hydrocarbons; Methane; Methane hydrates; Organic compounds; Organic materials
Record ID: 1989018363
Copyright Information: GeoRef, Copyright 2019 American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from Mineralogical Abstracts, United Kingdom, Twickenham, United Kingdom

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