Monday, March 25, 2013

Welcome to Vancouver Island's Bubbly Gulch.

Deep beneath the ocean surface, in Bubbly Gulch off Vancouver Island, a crab doing an inadvertent backflip has given scientists new information about the world’s largest source of untapped fossil energy.

The crab was taking a Jacuzzi-style bath in bubbles of methane gas percolating from the ocean floor in Barkley Canyon when its muddy face was caught by cameras on Wally the Crawler, NEPTUNE Canada’s undersea robot.

The methane bubbles — which are lighter than water — stuck under the crab’s shell, upsetting its balance and fascinating NEPTUNE scientists looking at the changing rates of bubbles and whether a warming ocean is affecting the ice-encased gas hydrates.

“This is cutting edge. There’s no other place in the world where they are monitoring hydrates like we do,” said Kate Moran, president of Oceans Network Canada, which manages the University of Victoria-led NEPTUNE underwater laboratory.
Gas hydrates, structures formed from a mixture of water and gas, have long interested scientists and energy companies, but they are stable only at high pressure or low temperature.

“If you are quick enough and put a match to it, it burns in your hand,” said NEPTUNE gas hydrates researcher Martin Scherwath.

1 comment:

LeDaro said...

BP will be knocking on your door soon. This might be a much bigger operation than the Tar Sands pipeline. B.C will be new sheiks competing with Saudi Arabia. I don’t know if I should congratulate or offer my sympathies.