Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Methane Bubbles Could Sink Ships, Scientists Find
Yahoo News ^ | 10/21/03 | Maggie Fox - Reuters

Posted on 10/21/2003 4:15:50 PM PDT by NormsRevenge

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Methane bubbles from the sea floor could, in theory, sink ships and may explain the odd disappearances of some vessels, Australian researchers reported on Tuesday.

The huge bubbles can erupt from undersea deposits of solid methane, known as gas hydrates. An odorless gas found in swamps and mines, methane becomes solid under the enormous pressures found on deep sea floors.

The ice-like methane deposits can break off and become gaseous as they rise, creating bubbles at the surface.

David May and Joseph Monaghan of Monash University in Australia said they had demonstrated how a giant bubble from one of these deposits could swamp a ship.

"Sonar surveys of the ocean floor in the North Sea (between Britain and continental Europe) have revealed large quantities of methane hydrates and eruption sites," May and Monaghan wrote in their report, published in the American Journal of Physics.

"A recent survey revealed the presence of a sunken vessel within the center of one particularly large eruption site, now known as the Witches Hole."

"One proposed sinking mechanism attributes the vessel's loss of buoyancy to bubbles of methane gas released from an erupting underwater hydrate," they wrote." The known abundance of gas hydrates in the North Sea, coupled with the vessel's final resting position and its location in the Witches Hole, all support a gas bubble theory."

No one has ever seen such an eruption and no one knows how large the bubbles coming off a methane deposit would be.

May and Monaghan created a model of a single large bubble coming up under a ship. They trapped water between vertical glass plates, launched gas bubbles from the bottom and used a video camera to record what happened to an acrylic "hull" floating on the surface.

"Whether or not the ship will sink depends on its position relative to the bubble. If it is far enough from the bubble, it is safe," they wrote.

"If it is exactly above the bubble, it also is safe, because at a stagnation point of the flow the boat is not carried into the trough. The danger position is between the bubble's stagnation point and the edge of the mound where the trough formed," they concluded. ).


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bubbles; climatechange; environment; methane; scientists; sinkships; witcheshole
This has been a theory that has been around for years.
1 posted on 10/21/2003 4:15:51 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

FRom Yahoo Search ... Lots of hits on Methane Bubbles
2 posted on 10/21/2003 4:19:19 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... HELP STOMP OUT FReepathons.. Become a Monthly . Thanks)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge
As you have said, this has been a theory for a while. many specials on the Bermuda Triangle have used this theory as an explanations for the sudden dissappearances of ships with no calls for help.
3 posted on 10/21/2003 4:19:24 PM PDT by commish (Freedom Tastes Sweetest to Those Who Have Fought to Preserve It)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge
Methane bubbles can be found most anywhere.


4 posted on 10/21/2003 4:21:19 PM PDT by South40 (My vote helped defeat bustamante. Did yours?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: South40
I have found that a large methane bubble under my bedsheets can frighten the wife and dog away, leaving me more room to sleep in.


5 posted on 10/21/2003 4:33:14 PM PDT by Gringo1 (Some days you are the pidgeon....and other days the statue.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Gringo1
OK lets see.. New Zealand is trying to tax Animal Farts, how long before the envirowackos claim that Global Warming and the Ozone Hole are caused by Ocean farts.
6 posted on 10/21/2003 4:36:00 PM PDT by commish (Freedom Tastes Sweetest to Those Who Have Fought to Preserve It)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Gringo1
I have found that a large methane bubble under my bedsheets can frighten the wife and dog away

Wait til your dog pays you back. Haha!
7 posted on 10/21/2003 4:37:27 PM PDT by jwh_Denver (My tagline flunked PC in school. We're going to Disneyland!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge
It was first put forth after someone sunk their rubber ducky in the bath tub, using escaping methane gas.
8 posted on 10/21/2003 4:40:30 PM PDT by dts32041 (Is it time to practice decimation with our representatives?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge
"If it is exactly above the bubble, it also is safe, because at a stagnation point of the flow the boat is not carried into the trough.

That is if the crew can breathe methane. More than likely the crew would die and the ship would survive.

9 posted on 10/21/2003 4:42:24 PM PDT by Pontiac
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge; Victoria Delsoul; PatrickHenry; Quila; Rudder; donh; VadeRetro; RadioAstronomer; ...




((((((growl)))))

10 posted on 10/21/2003 4:42:52 PM PDT by Sabertooth (No Drivers' Licences for Illegal Aliens. Petition SB60. http://www.saveourlicense.com/n_home.htm)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge
Can we get hold of Reuters and let them know just what dim bulbs they are? And the Australian "researchers" too. Probably government funded research. Simple Google searches turn up tons of stuff on this, as noted in another post.

And their statements about no one ever witnessing the effect are also wrong. There are several recorded incidents (including film footage) of floating drilling platforms that have struck methane hydrate layers and released bubble storms that have sunk the rigs like there was nothing under them to bouy them up (which, in effect, was true).

The other thing they don't mention about methane bubbles is that they're explosive. Ships encountering these bubble fields lose bouyancy. Any ignition source and the whole shebang goes bang!

Methane hydrate deposits could be a fantastic source of energy, but the risks involved in extracting it are huge. Of course, the risks involved in NOT extracting it (safely) are also huge. Lot's of big areas in the world are literally sitting on top of big fuel/air bombs. Wouldn't it be lovely to find deposits of this stuff at strategic locations and design a weapon to liberate it when we want and then provide an ignition source? Wouldn't it be a pain if someone else figured this out first?

My God! There's a methane hydrate gap!

11 posted on 10/21/2003 4:43:49 PM PDT by Phsstpok (often wrong, but never in doubt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Gringo1
Good thing bathtubs are shallow!!!
12 posted on 10/21/2003 5:03:52 PM PDT by duk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Scenic Sounds
Bet you didn't know this.
13 posted on 10/21/2003 5:10:30 PM PDT by Amelia
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge
Methane bubbles from the sea floor could, in theory, sink ships and may explain the odd disappearances of some vessels, Australian researchers reported on Tuesday.

Next, they are going to research if there are any good alternatives to the 8 track player.

14 posted on 10/21/2003 5:16:01 PM PDT by Fzob (Why does this tag line keep showing up?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

A trawler found at the bottom of the North Sea may have been sunk by a massive and very sudden release of methane gas, scientists speculated on Wednesday.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1047249.stm

15 posted on 10/21/2003 5:23:34 PM PDT by Tamzee (...This tagline has been tested on animals.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


16 posted on 10/21/2003 5:44:01 PM PDT by Consort
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Fzob
Next, they are going to research if there are any good alternatives to the 8 track player.

I need to get myself out of this work grind I've been in for the last 25 years and get me a "research grant" - several of them in fact.

I've got some great ideas that need serious series study....

- Why the sun always rises in the east and sets in the west.

- Why Lil Tommy D. is always "deeply saddened or concerned."

- Why Hollyweird celebs are such raving idiots, and insist on proving that fact over and over and over again.

Wow, lots of possibilities when ya get into the Lib / Rat arena.

LVM

17 posted on 10/21/2003 5:47:43 PM PDT by LasVegasMac (You tell 'em I'm coming! And you tell 'em Hell is coming with me!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Sabertooth
No one has ever seen such an eruption and no one knows how large the bubbles coming off a methane deposit would be.

We know for sure that there are deposits of natural gas in the earth. In theory, natural erosion might eventually allow one to escape on its own. However, it's not at all clear why this would happen on the bottom of the ocean, an environment more favorable to deposition than erosion.

At any rate, if I understand the article, methane is laying around already exposed on the sea floor in semi-stable hydrate form, just waiting for some odd event to turn it into a huge gas bubble. If that's true, there's more untapped energy out there than we thought. The problem is that someone should have put the whole business on a more solid observational basis by this late date than seems to be the case.

18 posted on 10/21/2003 6:01:30 PM PDT by VadeRetro
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: VadeRetro
Well, forget that cruise then, I refuse to get killed because the ocean farted.
19 posted on 10/21/2003 6:48:31 PM PDT by Ogmios (Who is John Galt?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: VadeRetro
Or as the Monte Python crew would say, "May The ocean fart in your general direction". What a great curse, I need to send that off to a friend of mine for his rude drivers tickets..LOL
20 posted on 10/21/2003 6:52:36 PM PDT by Ogmios (Who is John Galt?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: jwh_Denver
"Wait til your dog pays you back. Haha!"

Dog!!!! Hah!!!! I promise there is NOTHING worse that "cat gaseous emissions".

21 posted on 10/21/2003 6:53:19 PM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: commish
many specials on the Bermuda Triangle have used this theory as an explanations for the sudden dissappearances of ships with no calls for help.

Actually, the best theory on the "mysterious disappearances" in the Bermuda Triangle is that there's nothing mysterious going on at all.

People hoping to make money selling books or lecture tours have constantly exaggerated (or simply made up) the number and type of ships/planes lost in that area. In truth, the events in that area aren't out of lne for what one would expect given the amount of traffic it carries, and the storms and other natural hazards which are common in the area.

The whole "Bermuda Triangle" craze was kickstarted by Charles Berlitz's 1974 sensationalistic mass-market book, "The Bermuda Triangle". The problem is that Berlitz played fast and loose with a lot of facts in order to play up the "mysterious" slant on ordinary events. For example, he includes a plane that disappeared when its "destination" was Jamaica. What he "forgets" to mention is that the plane actually went down while flying from the Azores (in Portugal) to *Canada*. Needless to say, that's pretty damned far from the Bermuda Triangle. The only "connection" to the Bermuda Triangle is that the plane *would* have gone on to fly to Jamaica after stopping over in Canada, had it not crashed before it even got to Canada in the first place.

And planes/ships he reports having vanished "without a trace" often actually disappeared in hurricane-force winds, or after distress calls reporting ordinary accidents or failures, etc.

22 posted on 10/21/2003 7:04:38 PM PDT by Ichneumon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge
From the title, I pictured a story about a bunch of cows in a renegade U-boat. Unfortunately, the real story was much less interesting.
23 posted on 10/21/2003 7:08:28 PM PDT by ozzymandus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Sabertooth
"If it is exactly above the bubble, it also is safe, because at a stagnation point of the flow the boat is not carried into the trough. The danger position is between the bubble's stagnation point and the edge of the mound where the trough formed," they concluded. ).

Hmmm, what did you say about the bubble?

24 posted on 10/21/2003 7:10:39 PM PDT by Victoria Delsoul (I love the smell of winning, the taste of victory, and the joy of each glorious triumph)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Wonder Warthog
I promise there is NOTHING worse that "cat gaseous emissions".

"Felinist fartus clearust the roomest?" Been around cats for years and I didn't think they farted.
25 posted on 10/21/2003 7:21:06 PM PDT by jwh_Denver (My tagline has a super charged 454 hemi. But no rubber on the tires.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Ogmios
"May The ocean fart in your general direction".

"You are a fluke of the universe. You have no right to be here. And whether you realize it or not the universe is laughing behind your back." -- the Deteriorata.

26 posted on 10/21/2003 7:33:54 PM PDT by VadeRetro
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge; Dane
Methane: the Gateway Gas.
27 posted on 10/21/2003 7:34:44 PM PDT by txhurl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: VadeRetro
Something related here at Thomas Gold's home page. I believe somewhere in his other papers there are descriptions of ships at sea suddenly foundering due to gas.
28 posted on 10/21/2003 9:02:05 PM PDT by aruanan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Victoria Delsoul; Sabertooth
"If it is exactly above the bubble, it also is safe, because at a stagnation point of the flow the boat is not carried into the trough. The danger position is between the bubble's stagnation point and the edge of the mound where the trough formed,"

Detergent to the rescue. No more stagnation points, no more troughs. Fill the bilge with Dawn and, when the ocean sounds like champagne, dump it.

29 posted on 10/21/2003 9:22:12 PM PDT by Rudder
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: jwh_Denver
"Been around cats for years and I didn't think they farted."

AFAIK, they don't do it often (maybe they can't even stand themselves). Think about how bad cat food smells (especially anything with fish in it) BEFORE "processing".

30 posted on 10/22/2003 3:29:43 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Amelia
Bet you didn't know this.

You're right, I had no idea. The ocean floor is of course more vast than the land we know and there's a lot of pressure down there.

Fascinating. Thanks for the ping! ;-)

31 posted on 10/22/2003 6:59:47 AM PDT by Scenic Sounds (Sť esta vieja calle. Puede ser muy peligroso.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Sabertooth
"Methane bubbles ... could, in theory, sink ships."

Whale farts!

32 posted on 10/22/2003 11:45:58 PM PDT by capitan_refugio
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: VadeRetro
Actually, I have seen gas hydrates recovered in cores from beneath the sea floor. When the core barrel is cut open it pops and fizzles, and the methane is concentrated enough to be ignited, briefly.

The area shown in the map on an earlier post is conincident with significant North Sea oil, natural gas, and gas condensate production. It is no surprise that methane degassing occurs there.

In the Santa Barbara Channel, off of the coast of California, there is an area near "Coal Oil Point" with prolific natural gas (95%+ methane) seeps. Two 100 ft x 100 ft steel pyraminds were lowered on to the seafloor to capture gas eminating from one very active area. These two underwater tents capture enough natural gas to power the domestic natural gas needs for a city of 25,000 people each and every day. I have been on boats in the midst of these seepages. It is like floating in a oily Coca Cola. And I lived to tell about it!

33 posted on 10/22/2003 11:56:10 PM PDT by capitan_refugio
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: aruanan
Thomas Gold is out of his league. No reputable geoscientist takes him seriously.
34 posted on 10/22/2003 11:58:29 PM PDT by capitan_refugio
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

35 posted on 10/23/2003 12:04:05 AM PDT by Nick Danger (The Wright Brothers were not the first to fly. They were the first to LAND.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

OK, I've seen something like this. When we were cruising off the coast of Somalia, I was hard at work on my ship after sunset (OK, I was fishing) and I fell asleep for about 5 hours. When I woke up around 1AM, the sea was as white as milk. It was really freaky; like I was in some alternate universe (Because the sea at night is pitch black). I went up to the "Smoke Box" and asked my pals what the heck was going of and they thought it was either methane or CO2 bubbles.

It didn't explode when we tossed our butts over the side, either.

My $.02

36 posted on 10/23/2003 12:17:28 AM PDT by RandallFlagg ("There are worse things than crucifixion...There are teeth.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: capitan_refugio
Thomas Gold is out of his league. No reputable geoscientist takes him seriously.

Ha ha. Good one. Nice try.
37 posted on 10/23/2003 1:49:15 AM PDT by aruanan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: capitan_refugio
Thomas Gold is out of his league. No reputable geoscientist takes him seriously.

What I mean is this: "reputable" is more often than not a knee-jerk way of saying "those who believe the way I believe". Having a doctorate in the biological sciences, I see exactly the same thing going on here. At one time all "reputable" physicists accepted the phlogiston theory of combustion. Ditto those who once believed that no electrical generator could ever be more than 50% efficient. If you look at Gold's CV you'll see he's had a pretty successful record at going into diverse fields and hitting pay dirt.
38 posted on 10/23/2003 1:56:56 AM PDT by aruanan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge
Monash University never met shaggy eel.
39 posted on 10/23/2003 2:08:09 AM PDT by PoorMuttly (Have you ever seen EEL Catfood? Never. And cats eat rats and snakes !)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PoorMuttly
...believe me...a ship would dissolve.
40 posted on 10/23/2003 2:12:18 AM PDT by PoorMuttly (If they could walk we'd ALL be in trouble)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge
This just in, breaking..

HemorReuters: Methane Bubbles Could Sink Democrat hopes for 2004 election, Scientists Find

Details to follow.
41 posted on 10/23/2003 2:16:55 AM PDT by Broadside Joe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: HitmanNY
Something reeks "Disharmonious" about this...
42 posted on 10/23/2003 2:29:21 AM PDT by PoorMuttly (...don't sailors wear striped shirts...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: VadeRetro
Fluke of the universe placemarker
43 posted on 10/23/2003 10:05:45 AM PDT by Ogmios (Since when is 66 senate votes for judicial confirmations constitutional?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge
I see real problems if the smoking lamp is lit.
44 posted on 10/23/2003 10:12:09 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim (SSDD - Same S#it Different Democrat)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson