Skip to comments.World-first technology enables study of ancient bacteria [Bermuda Triangle too]
Posted on 06/07/2005 4:18:16 AM PDT by PatrickHenry
Sustainable energy source could solve Bermuda Triangle riddle.
Experts at Cardiff University, UK, have designed world-first technology to investigate sustainable energy sources from the ocean bed by isolating ancient high-pressure bacteria from deep sediments.
Scientists and engineers at Cardiff University are investigating bacteria from deep sediments which despite high pressures (greater than 1,000 atmospheres), gradually increasing temperatures (from an icy 2°C to over 100°C), great depth (several kilometres) and age (many millions of years) may contain most of the bacteria on Earth.
Some of these bacteria produce methane that accumulates in "gas hydrates" a super concentrated methane ice that contains more carbon than all conventional fossil fuels and, therefore, a potentially enormous energy source. However, we know little about gas hydrates as they melt during recovery due to the fall in pressure.
Professor R. John Parkes, of the School of Earth, Ocean and Planetary Sciences at Cardiff University, is leading part of a major European Union project, called HYACINTH which is developing systems to recover gas hydrates and bacteria under high pressure.
He has turned to experts in the University's Manufacturing Engineering Centre to help create a system that would enable his team to grow, isolate and study these ancient bacteria in the laboratory.
"DNA analysis of deep sediments has shown diverse bacterial populations, including major new types, but we have been unable to culture them and this might be because we have not been able to keep them at the very high pressures which they need to survive," said Professor Parkes.
The Manufacturing Engineering Centre in the School of Engineering has helped design and produce a high-pressure system, which is the first of its kind in the world.
Using titanium and stainless steel alloys, and sapphire windows, the Centre's experts have built an isolation system, as well as a special cutting chamber to enable scientists to take precise sediment samples and grow bacteria from them at pressures as high as 1,000 atmospheres. A special ram for the system was produced by the Technical University, Berlin.
As well as studying potentially the deepest organisms on Earth this research might also throw light on the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle by finding out more about the behaviour of the mysterious hydrates.
One theory now suggests that when the covering of "methane ice" which exists over much of the seabed of the Bermuda Triangle becomes unstable; this causes instability of the sea and an explosive mixture of air and methane above. Any ships or planes travelling over the area could sink or catch fire.
"So ancient, deep-sediment bacteria may be a key to sustainable energy in the future and to explaining a few disasters," said Professor Parkes.
Great post thanks.
The unstable sea effect is caused by the lowering of density when methane bubbles pass through a volume of water. Displacement-hull ships just keel over and sink.
Thanks for the ping!
Are there any other kinds of ships?
And this affects airplanes how? (if there is anything to the Bermuda Triangle)
Airfoils work by being shaped specifically to generate a certain pressure difference on the top and bottom of the structure to produce lift. If you change the density of the air you are slicing through, the relative pressure (top and bottom of the wing) changes and you lose your lift.
Also the altimeter works on air density, so it will show you as climbing when you may actually be in a steep descent.
The Bermuda Triangle as a dangerous area is overblown. Lloyd's of London does not charge higher insurance for ships travelling through the triangle, if that is any indication.
In one TV documentary it showed that methane will choke out an airplane engine - since it is a volitile, flammable gas I thought it would rev it up, but tests indicate otherwise.
They said something about electromagnetic interference which would compromise radio distress signals or some instruments.
Apparently when this methane "ice" melts or converts to liquid, and that liquid gets up to where the lower pressure allows it to "boil" into gas, the ocean essentially cuts a huge, explosive "phart". That's the theory anyway, although as far as I know no one has ever wittnessed one... and lived to report it.
I wonder if one of our spy satellites will ever document one of these events?
As an energy source, it bears investigation - although mass production might be a bit of a trick what with all of that mega-pressure involved.
We have plenty of regular, garden variety bacteria that routinely generate methane; that's what "biomass" is all about.
That "technology" has been around for millions of years, at least.
The Chinese apparently put a big sliding dome over the village cesspool and tap off the methane trapped under it for heating and cooking.
It ain't rocket science.
I seem to recall it was pretty well established that navigational errors accounted for most high profile aircraft disappearances over the Bermuda Triangle
Thanks again, PH, for the pings!
I see. Methane in water affects the air density at the altitudes planes fly at. Hmmm....
BTW, I am well aware of how an airfoil works.
(Note to all: I do not buy into "The Bermuda Triangle")
In all reality, I think the "Bermuda Triangle" rates right up there with creationism and ID. In other words pure BS.
I was being rather satiric in my first post. Guess that didn't come across. Sigh.
Photo of worms that live on the methane hydrate:
Yes. Surface effect Ships
The Coast Guard's Surface Effect Ships are a new concept in patrol craft. They are used primarily for law enforcement, especially drug and illegal migrant interdiction, marine environmental protection and search and rescue work. The 39-foot beam of the SES provides an exceptionally stable platform in most seas conditions, while its maximum speed of more than 30 knots assures rapid response for rescue cases. pollution containment and law enforcement. Its hull is welded marine aluminum. At lift speed a pressurized air cushion forms under the vessel, while the side walls pierce the water surface, forming a shallow-draft catamaran hull. They are highly maneuverable even at low speeds, with an 1,800-hp diesel engine, propeller and rudder in each side hull.
IMAGE FILE NUMBER: DN-ST-84-02072
Didn't say it wouldn't sink, just stating that there any other kinds of ships.
Guess I should have made the < /pedantic> a little larger.
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