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Earthquakes trigger undersea methane reservoirs: Study

Published on Jul 29, 2013 6:13 AM

PARIS, France (AFP) - Earthquakes can rip open sub-sea pockets of methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas, according to a study by German and Swiss scientists published on Sunday.

Quake-caused methane should be added to the list of heat-trapping carbon emissions that affect the world's climate system, although the scale of this contribution remains unclear, they said.

The evidence comes from cores of sediment drilled from the bed of the northern Arabian Sea during a research trip by marine scientists in 2007.

One of the cores has now been found to contain methane hydrates - a solid ice-like crystalline structure of methane and water - only 1.6m below the sea floor.

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