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Seminar - Formation of Concentrated Methane Hydrate in Geological System

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Kehua You

Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, the University of Texas at Austin

Methane hydrate is a naturally-occurring, ice-like substance that is composed of methane and water. Methane hydrate is widely found in sediments along the world’s continental margins where the pressure is high, temperature is low and there is enough methane. It plays a significant role in carbon cycle, climate change and geohazards, and is a promising energy resource. In addition, methane hydrate has been the interest of study on other planets, such as Mars, and was proposed to support the life in the geological past of Mars. As an energy geoscientist, I am most interested in the energy potential of methane hydrate. I will present the results of our ocean drilling expedition to one of the most promising hydrate reservoirs in 2017, Green Canyon 955 northern Gulf of Mexico, and explore the formation of such highly-concentrated hydrate reservoirs along continental margins and the implications. Microbial methanogenesis plays a critical role in forming such hydrate reservoirs. For more than several decades we have assumed that the bugs that generate methane live in marine muds. However, I will show you with data that the bugs might live in marine sands instead of muds. This has significant implications not only on carbon cycle and storage under the seafloor but also on global geopolitics and economics.        

Time: Apr 9, 2021 11:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada)