February 17. A powerful magnitude 9.0 earthquake Japan has led to the release of methane from oceanic crust to the east of the island — along with the microorganisms living in the cortex.
The earthquake, which took place March 11, 2011 off the Pacific coast of the Tohoku region, shifted the bottom 7 meters vertically and 50 meters horizontally. Within 36 days after this Sinsuke Kawaguchi and his colleagues at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology took water samples from a depth of 5.7 km in four places Japan Trench near the epicenter.
They found a large column of muddy water of about 500 km in length, width — 400 km and a height of 1.5 km, rising from the lowest point of the trough. After 98 days after the earthquake, when experts come back for new trial, he was still there.
Methane concentration in the "cloud" in 20 times higher than before the earthquake. Isotope of carbon found in the methane plume, coincided with the isotope, discovered some time ago, deep in the seabed while drilling.
Genetic testing of water samples for RNA revealed the presence of tiny creatures. Anomaly has led to an increase in the concentration of bacteria and Archean: 36 days after the earthquake in the five-kilometer depth of the number of microorganisms over the normal limit of seven.
Some of them are found only in the deep sea, great feel methane environment, but there were others — those that prefer more bolshie depth or even inside the oceanic crust.
98 days after the earthquake, the concentration of microorganisms is almost back to normal, although some creatures usually live in the crust, a bit late.
It is believed that almost two-thirds of total prokaryotic biomass Earth lives in the oceanic crust, but they know very little.
The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.
On materials: NewScientist