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Methane hydrate

Methane hydrate

A705/0065

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Credit

DR TIM EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR TIM EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Methane hydrate. Computer model of the structure of methane hydrate, also known as methane ice or methane clathrate. It consists of a molecule of methane, which is composed of one carbon atom (green) and four hydrogen atoms (white), surrounded by a cage of water molecules (red). This whole structure is known as a clathrate. Methane hydrate is found in the very cold and high pressure environments under the arctic permafrost and in marine sediments, where it forms a crystalline solid. It is thought there is approximately 3000 times the volume of methane in hydrates than in the atmosphere, making it a huge potential energy source. However, methane is a greenhouse gas and so any release would contribute towards global warming.

Release details

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