‘Here’s a source of chemical energy that’s being created by geology…’
(Lionel Parrott, Liberty Headlines) Scientists have discovered massive amounts of methane located deep below the Earth’s surface—calling into question why policymakers are focusing on decreasing emissions of this gas when so much of it is naturally occurring.
According to an article from Newsweek, the methane is released through deep-sea vents. In 2016, scientists discovered over 500 vents spewing methane off the west coast of the United States.
Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) then took samples from hydrothermal sites across the planet, including the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the East Pacific Ridge, the Mid-Cayman Rise and the Guaymas Basin.
WHOI found almost all of them contained pockets of methane—and now they say the vents could be the largest source of abiotic (not formed with organic matter) methane in the world.
How large? The team said that the methane locked inside rocks might amount for more methane than was in the Earth’s atmosphere before the Industrial Revolution.
“We were totally surprised to find this massive pool of abiotic methane in the oceanic crust and mantle,” said Frieder Klein, the group’s lead author. “Here’s a source of chemical energy that’s being created by geology.”
Methane is considered a greenhouse gas and is most commonly thought of as being released through the breakdown of organic matter.
Once emitted into the atmosphere, it has a warming effect far greater than carbon dioxide, though it is much shorter-lived as well.
In the popular imagination, perhaps the most common source of methane is cow flatulence. Bovine flatulence was pointed to as a culprit of climate change in the rollout of the Green New Deal legislation promoted by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez, D-NY.
After the “cow farts” claim was subjected to ridicule, she blamed the absurd reference on a staffer who “had a very bad day at work” and had uploaded an unfinished draft of the proposal to the Internet.
With the discovery of the naturally occurring methane, it might be back to the drawing board for the Green New Deal crowd.
Killing all the cows might not be enough.