Massive Stash of Seafloor Gas Could Contain 50 Million Tons of CO2: Study

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Massive Stash of Seafloor Gas Could Contain 50 Million Tons of CO2: Study

 

Greenhouse gas emissions have increased throughout the decades mostly because of human activities. But a pocket of greenhouse gases lurking just below the seafloor was recently found. It represents an untapped source of natural gas. Researchers consider it a ticking bomb of greenhouse gas emissions just waiting to seep up to the surface. 

 

Photo Credit: 123RF

 

A recent study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters revealed that one such pocket is located at the bottom of the Okinawa Trough. This huge gas pocket stretches at least 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) wide. It potentially contains more than 100 million tons (90.7 million metric tons) of methane, carbon dioxide, or a combination of the two. However, the researchers couldn’t make any specific conclusions about what's in the reservoir, what's going to happen to it, and where it came from.

 

Photo Credit: 123RF

 

The researchers stated that although methane can contribute to climate change, it is also an important resource. According to Live Science, a science news website that features groundbreaking developments in science, space, technology, health, the environment, our culture and history, the Environmental Protection Agency reported that methane is the second most-common heat-trapping gas in Earth's atmosphere next to CO2. It accounts for about 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. It was also reported that in the last 250 years, methane concentrations in the atmosphere have massively increased by almost 150 percent. This will likely continue to rise for the next few years.

 

Photo Credit: 123RF

 

However, if the reservoir contains mostly CO2, it could mean a greater impact on the climate crisis. The researchers found out that the pocket can release 50 million tons (45 million metric tons) of CO2 into the air at once. This could have a measurable effect on carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Takeshi Tsuji, study co-author from the Kyushu University's International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research in Japan, said, "This amount is on a similar order to the annual CO2 emissions of all private cars in Japan (about 100 million tons [907 million metric tons] per year)."

 

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