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Cryo-methane: Ice, Permafrost, Hydrates and Guns

17.04.2018, 10:15 Uhr
MARUM Seminar
MARUM I Seminarraum 2070

Prof. Michael J. Whiticar

(School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, Kanada)

presently: Fellow at Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg, Delmenhorst

Methane, the most abundant organic molecule on Earth, is ubiquitously distributed in rocks, sediments, soils, water columns of the geosphere. Because we still use methane as a natural gas fuel to run our energy economies, it remains important to understand its formation, distribution and consumption. However, it is also a strong GHG in the troposphere contributing increasingly to our global radiatively balance. By far, the largest repositories for methane are the marine and terrestrial hydrates (~ 5 - 36 x 105 Tg CH4). It is postulated that massive, catastrophic releases of methane from hydrates to the troposphere (‘Clathrate Guns’) are responsible for the changes in atmospheric methane, and drive climate change, in concert with CO2. Using stable isotope signatures, this presentation takes you on a circuitous walk through our research on Hydrate Ridge, Santa Barbara Basin, north Canadian permafrost and Greenland ice to investigate the rapid rise in methane at the Younger Dryas-Preboreal transition around 11 ky BP. The results may surprise you as much as it did us.

Hosted by:

WD Dr. Marcus Elvert


+49 421 218-65706


+49 421 218-65715



MARUM I, 2620