«Powder keg» of the earth is buried in Antarctica

Climate scientists were astonished to learn that the secret of the ice

British climate scientists from Bristol University have calculated that the ice of Antarctica can be stockpiled billions of tons of methane. Enormous reserves of methane were "stashed" in deep water by microorganisms that feed on the remains of the ancient trees.

35 million years ago, prior to freezing, Antarctica was covered in forest, writes infox.ru. Then organics was cut off from the rest of the world ice shell. Scientists have suggested that in the first few million years after the glacial bacteria in anoxic conditions could decompose organic Antarctic, resulting in under the ice got a huge amount of methane.

Hydrocarbons, according to specialists, at a depth of 3 km, so the ice drill to test the theory proved costly undertaking. Instead, scientists have sawed off small pieces from the edges of the glacier, were found in ability to produce methane bacteria. After this two-year microorganisms were placed in a cold environment without light and oxygen.

Measuring the amount of methane they produce, the researchers calculated that its reserves under the Antarctic ice is even higher than the supply at the bottom of the oceans.

— Our experiment showed that such portions of ice remain biologically active, and there is decomposed organic matter into carbon dioxide and methane — explained Jemma Wadham, director of work. — And if suddenly this methane breaks through fissures in the ice and get into the atmosphere, it threatens catastrophic climate change.


Methane is the simplest hydrocarbon, colorless gas (under normal circumstances), odorless chemical formula — CH4. Slightly soluble in water, lighter than air. When used in the home, industry methane is usually added odorants (usually mercaptans) to a specific "odor of gas." Methane is not toxic and not dangerous to human health. But there is evidence that methane refers to toxic substances that act on the central nervous system.

Accumulate in an enclosed space, methane is explosive. Enrichment odorants done for a person to be caught in a gas leak. The industrial production of this role the sensors and in many cases, methane, laboratory and industrial production is odorless.

Explosive when air concentrations from 4.4% to 17%. The most explosive concentration of 9.5%. A drug, the action is weakened negligible solubility in water and blood. Hazard class — fourth.

Category: Natural disasters and the environment

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