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Encyclopedia > Methane clathrate
"Burning ice". Methane, released by heating, burns; water drips. Inset: clathrate structure (University of Göttingen, GZG. Abt. Kristallographie). Source: USGS
"Burning ice". Methane, released by heating, burns; water drips.
Inset: clathrate structure (University of Göttingen, GZG. Abt. Kristallographie).
Source: USGS

Methane clathrate, also called methane hydrate or methane ice, is a solid form of water that contains a large amount of methane within its crystal structure (a clathrate hydrate). Originally thought to occur only in the outer regions of the Solar System where temperatures are low and water ice is common, significant deposits of methane clathrate have been found under sediments on the ocean floors of Earth. [1] Image File history File links From: http://geology. ... The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is a scientific agency of the United States government. ... Methane is a chemical compound with the molecular formula . ... For other uses, see Crystal (disambiguation). ... Clathrate hydrates (or alternatively gas clathrates, gas hydrates, clathrates, hydrates etc) are a class of solids in which gas molecules occupy cages made up of hydrogen-bonded water molecules. ... This article is about the Solar System. ... Animated map exhibiting the worlds oceanic waters. ... This article is about Earth as a planet. ...

Methane clathrates are common constituents of the shallow marine geosphere, and they occur both in deep sedimentary structures, and as outcrops on the ocean floor. Methane hydrates are believed to form by migration of gas from depth along geological faults, followed by precipitation, or crystallization, on contact of the rising gas stream with cold sea water. Methane clathrates are also present in deep Antarctic ice cores, and store a record of atmospheric methane concentrations, dating to 800,000 years ago.[2] The ice-core methane clathrate record is a primary source of data for global warming research, along with oxygen and carbon dioxide. Old fault exposed by roadcut near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. ... An ice core is a tube of ice removed from an ice sheet. ... Global warming refers to the increase in the average temperature of the Earths near-surface air and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation. ...

At higher pressures, methane clathrates remain stable at temperatures up to 18 °C. The average methane clathrate hydrate composition is 1 mole of methane for every 5.75 moles of water, though this is dependent on how many methane molecules "fit" into the various cage structures of the water lattice. The observed density is around 0.9 g/cm³. One liter of methane clathrate solid would therefore contain, on average, 168 liters of methane gas (at STP). The mole (symbol: mol) is the SI base unit that measures an amount of substance. ... Temperature and air pressure can vary from one place to another on the Earth, and can also vary in the same place with time. ...

Methane forms a structure I hydrate with two dodecahedral (20 vertices thus 20 water molecules) and six tetradecahedral (24 water molecules) water cages per unit cell. The hydration value of 20 can be determined experimentally by MAS NMR.[3] A methane clathrate spectrum recorded at 275 K and 3.1 MPa shows a peak for each cage type and a separate peak for gas phase methane. Recently, a clay-methane hydrate intercalate was synthesized in which a methane hydrate complex was introduced at the interlayer of a Na-rich montmorillonite clay. The upper temperature stability of this phase is similar to that of structure I hydrate.[4] A dodecahedron is any polyhedron with twelve faces, but usually a regular dodecahedron is meant: a Platonic solid composed of twelve regular pentagonal faces, with three meeting at each vertex. ... A tetradecahedron is a polyhedron with 14 faces. ... In physics, magic angle spinning (MAS) is a technique often used to perform solid-state NMR experiments. ... For other uses, see Kelvin (disambiguation). ... MPA is a TLA (three-letter acronym) that may mean: Macedonian Press Agency Marine Protected Area Maritime Patrol Aircraft Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad (AAR reporting mark MPA) Master of Public Administration Master of Public Affairs Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics Metropolitan Police Authority Mid-atlantic Pagan Alliance Motion Picture Association... In the physical sciences, a phase is a set of states of a macroscopic physical system that have relatively uniform chemical composition and physical properties (i. ...


Natural deposits

Worldwide distribution of confirmed or inferred offshore gas hydrate-bearing sediments, 1996.Source: USGS
Worldwide distribution of confirmed or inferred offshore gas hydrate-bearing sediments, 1996.
Source: USGS

Methane clathrates are restricted to the shallow lithosphere (i.e. < 2000 m depth). Furthermore, necessary conditions are found only either in polar continental sedimentary rocks where surface temperatures are less than 0 °C; or in oceanic sediment at water depths greater than 300 m where the bottom water temperature is around 2 °C. In addition, deep lakes may host gas hydrates as well, e.g. the freshwater Lake Baikal, Siberia[5]. Continental deposits have been located in Siberia and Alaska in sandstone and siltstone beds at less than 800 m depth. Oceanic deposits seem to be widespread in the continental shelf (see Fig.) and can occur within the sediments at depth or close to the sediment-water interface. They may cap even larger deposits of gaseous methane.[6] The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is a scientific agency of the United States government. ... The tectonic plates of the lithosphere on Earth. ... Two types of sedimentary rock: limey shale overlain by limestone. ... This article or section cites very few or no references or sources. ... An oceanographic water mass is an identifiable body of water which has physical properties distinct from surrounding water. ... This article is about Siberia as a whole. ... For other uses, see Alaska (disambiguation). ... This article is about the geological formation. ... Siltstone Siltstone is a geological term for a sedimentary rock whose composition is intermediate in grain size between the coarser sandstone and the finer mudstone. ...  Sediment  Rock  Mantle  The global continental shelf, highlighted in cyan The continental shelf is the extended perimeter of each continent and associated coastal plain, which is covered during interglacial periods such as the current epoch by relatively shallow seas (known as shelf seas) and gulfs. ...


There are two distinct types of oceanic deposit. The most common is dominated (> 99%) by methane contained in a structure I clathrate and generally found at depth in the sediment. Here, the methane is isotopically light (δ13C < -60‰) which indicates that it is derived from the microbial reduction of CO2. The clathrates in these deep deposits are thought to have formed in-situ from the microbially-produced methane, as the δ13C values of clathrate and surrounding dissolved methane are similar.[6] Methane is a chemical compound with the molecular formula . ... A clathrate or clathrate compound is a chemical substance consisting of a Greek klethra, meaning bars (in the sense of a lattice). ... Carbon-13 is a stable isotope of carbon. ... ed|other uses|reduction}} Illustration of a redox reaction Redox (shorthand for reduction/oxidation reaction) describes all chemical reactions in which atoms have their oxidation number (oxidation state) changed. ... Carbon dioxide (chemical formula: ) is a chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom. ...

These deposits are located within a mid-depth zone around 300-500 m thick in the sediments (the Gas Hydrate Stability Zone, or GHSZ) where they coexist with methane dissolved in the pore-waters. Above this zone methane is only present in its dissolved form at concentrations that decrease towards the sediment surface. Below it, methane is gaseous. At Blake Ridge on the Atlantic continental rise, the GHSZ started at 190 m depth and continued to 450 m, where it reached equilibrium with the gaseous phase. Measurements indicated that methane occupied 0-9% by volume in the GHSZ, and ~12% in the gaseous zone.[7]  Sediment  Rock  Mantle  The global continental shelf, highlighted in cyan The continental shelf is the extended perimeter of each continent, which is covered during interglacial periods such as the current epoch by relatively shallow seas (known as shelf seas) and gulfs. ... A phase boundary describes the interface two substances that can remain in contact indefinitely (that is to say, at equilibrium) without mixing, as when oil meets water or air meets stone. ...

In the less common second type found near the sediment surface some samples have a higher proportion of longer-chain hydrocarbons (<99% methane) contained in a structure II clathrate. Methane is isotopically heavier (δ13C is -29 to -57 ‰) and is thought to have migrated upwards from deep sediments where methane was formed by thermal decomposition of organic matter. Examples of this type of deposit have been found in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caspian Sea.[6] A 3-dimensional rendered Ball-and-stick model of the methane molecule. ... Carbon-13 is a stable isotope of carbon. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Gulf of Mexico in 3D perspective. ... The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the worlds largest lake or a full-fledged sea. ...

Some deposits have characteristics intermediate between the microbially- and thermally-sourced types and are considered to be formed from a mixture of the two.

The methane in gas hydrates is dominantly generated by bacterial degradation of organic matter in low oxygen environments. Organic matter in the uppermost few centimetres of sediments is first attacked by aerobic bacteria, generating CO2, which escapes from the sediments into the water column. In this region of aerobic bacterial activity sulfates are reduced to sulfides. If the sedimentation rate is low (<1 cm/kyr), the organic carbon content is low (<1% ), and oxygen is abundant, aerobic bacteria use up all the organic matter in the sediments. But where sedimentation rates and the organic carbon content are high, the pore waters in the sediments are anoxic at depths of only a few cm, and methane is produced by anaerobic bacteria. This production of methane is a rather complicated process, requires the activity of several varieties of bacteria, a reducing environment (Eh -350 to -450 mV), and a pH between 6 and 8. In some regions (e.g., Gulf of Mexico) methane in clathrates may be at least partially derived from thermal degradation of organic matter, dominantly in petroleum.[8] The methane in clathrates typically has a bacterial isotopic signature and highly variable δ13C (-40 to -100‰), with an approximate average of about -65 ‰ .Kvenvolden, 1993; Dickens et al., 1995; [9] Below the zone of solid clathrates, large volumes of methane may occur as bubbles of free gas in the sediments.[10][11][12]

The presence of clathrates at a given site can often be determined by observation of a "Bottom Simulating Reflector" (BSR), which is a seismic reflection at the sediment to clathrate stability zone interface caused by the unequal densities of normal sediments and those laced with clathrates.

Reservoir size

The size of the oceanic methane clathrate reservoir is poorly known, and estimates of its size decreased by roughly an order of magnitude per decade since it was first recognized that clathrates could exist in the oceans during the 1960s and 70s.[13] The highest estimates (e.g. 3×1018[14]) were based on the assumption that fully dense clathrates could litter the entire floor of the deep ocean. However, improvements in our understanding of clathrate chemistry and sedimentology have revealed that hydrates only form in a narrow range of depths (continental shelves), only at some locations in the range of depths where they could occur (10-30% of the GHSZ), and typically are found at low concentrations (0.9-1.5% by volume) at sites where they do occur. Recent estimates constrained by direct sampling suggest the global inventory lies between 1×1015 and 5×1015 m³ (1 quadrillion to 5 quadrillion).[13] This estimate, corresponding to 500-2500 gigatonnes carbon (Gt C), is smaller than the 5000 Gt C estimated for all other fossil fuel reserves but substantially larger than the ~230 Gt C estimated for other natural gas sources.[13][15] The permafrost reservoir has been estimated at about 400 Gt C in the Arctic,[16] but no estimates have been made of possible Antarctic reservoirs. These are large amounts. For comparison the total carbon in the atmosphere is around 700 gigatons[17]. An order of magnitude is the class of scale or magnitude of any amount, where each class contains values of a fixed ratio to the class preceding it. ... The continental shelf is an area of relatively shallow sea water that is found on the edge of each continent. ...

These modern estimates are notably smaller than the 10,000 to 11,000 Gt C (2×1016 m³) proposed by previous workers as a motivation considering clathrates as a fossil fuel resource (MacDonald 1990, Kvenvolden 1998). Lower abundances of clathrates do not rule out their economic potential, but a lower total volume and apparently low concentration at most sites[13] does suggests that only a limited percentage of clathrates deposits may provide an economically viable resource.


Methane clathrates in continental rocks are trapped in beds of sandstone or siltstone at depths of less than 800 m. Sampling indicates they are formed from a mix of thermally and microbially derived gas from which the heavier hydrocarbons were later selectively removed. These occur in Alaska and Siberia. This article is about the geological formation. ... Siltstone Siltstone is a geological term for a sedimentary rock whose composition is intermediate in grain size between the coarser sandstone and the finer mudstone. ... For other uses, see Alaska (disambiguation). ... This article is about Siberia as a whole. ...

Commercial use

The sedimentary methane hydrate reservoir probably contains 2-10x the currently known reserves of conventional natural gas. This represents a potentially important future source of hydrocarbon fuel. However, in the majority of sites deposits are likely to be too dispersed for economic extraction.[13] Other problems facing commercial exploitation are detection of viable reserves; and development of the technology for extracting methane gas from the hydrate deposits. To date, there has only been one field commercialy produced where some of the gas is thought to have been from Methane clathrates, Messoyakha Gas Field. For other uses, see Natural gas (disambiguation). ... A 3-dimensional rendered Ball-and-stick model of the methane molecule. ... For other uses, see Fuel (disambiguation). ...

A research and development project in Japan is aiming for commercial-scale extraction by 2016.[18] In August of 2006, China announced plans to spend 800 million yuan (US$100 million) over the next 10 years to study natural gas hydrates.[19] A potentially economic reserve in the Gulf of Mexico may contain ~1010 m3 of gas.[13] Bjørn Kvamme and Arne Graue at the Institute for Physics and technology at the University of Bergen has developed a method for injecting CO2 into hydrates and reversing the process; thereby extracting CH4 by direct exchange [20]. 2016 (MMXVI) will be a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The University of Bergen (Universitetet i Bergen) is located in Bergen, Norway. ...

Hydrates in natural gas processing

Methane clathrates (hydrates) are also commonly formed during natural gas production operations, when liquid water is condensed in the presence of methane at high pressure. It is known that larger hydrocarbon molecules such as ethane and propane can also form hydrates, although as the molecule length increases (butanes, pentanes), they cannot fit into the water cage structure and tend to destabilise the formation of hydrates.

Once formed, hydrates can block pipeline and processing equipment. They are generally then removed by reducing the pressure, heating them, or dissolving them by chemical means (methanol is commonly used). Care must be taken to ensure that the removal of the hydrates is carefully controlled, because of the risk of massive increases in pressure as the methane is released, and the potential for the hydrate to let go with high velocity is exposed to a high pressure differential.

It is generally preferable to prevent hydrates from forming or blocking equipment. This is commonly achieved by removing water, or by the addition of ethylene glycol (MEG) or methanol, which act to depress the temperature at which hydrates will form. In recent years, development of other forms of hydrate inhibitors have been developed, being Kinetic Hydrate Inhibitors (which dramatically slow the rate of hydrate formation) and anti-agglomerates, which do not prevent hydrates forming, but do prevent them sticking together to block equipment.

Methane clathrates and climate change

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas. Despite its short atmospheric lifetime of around 12 years, methane has a global warming potential of 62 over 20 years and 21 over 100 years (IPCC, 1996; Berner and Berner, 1996; vanLoon and Duffy, 2000). The sudden release of large amounts of natural gas from methane clathrate deposits has been hypothesized as a cause of past and possibly future climate changes. Events possibly linked in this way are the Permian-Triassic extinction event, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.   Extinction intensity through time: apparent percentage of marine animal genera becoming extinct during any given time interval. ... Top: Increasing atmospheric levels as measured in the atmosphere and ice cores. ... Global warming potential (GWP) is a measure of how much a given mass of greenhouse gas is estimated to contribute to global warming. ... The Permian-Triassic (P-T or PT) extinction event, sometimes informally called the Great Dying, was an extinction event that occurred approximately 251 million years ago (mya), forming the boundary between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods. ... Climate change during the last 65 million years. ...

Natural gas hydrates (NGH) vs. liquified natural gas (LNG) in transportation

Since methane clathrates are stable at a higher temperature (−20 vs −162 °C) than LNG, there is some interest in converting natural gas into clathrates rather than liquifying it when transporting it by seagoing vessels. Accordingly, the production of NGH from NG at the terminal would require a smaller plant than LNG would. Liquefied natural gas or LNG is natural gas that has been cooled until it becomes liquid, and it is stored in tanks. ... An LNG carrier is a ship designed for transporting liquefied natural gas. ...

Methane clathrates in popular fiction

The book Mother of Storms by John Barnes offers a fictional example of catastrophic climate change caused by methane clathrate release. John Barnes (born 1957) is a prolific American science fiction author, whose stories often explore questions of individual moral responsibility within a larger social context. ...

Another book is The Life Lottery by Ian Irvine, in which unprecedented seismic activity triggers a release of methane hydrate, reversing global cooling. The Life Lottery, a futuristic eco-thriller, is the final book in Ian Irvines Human Rites Sequence, set after the events in Terminator Gene. ... Ian Irvine (born 1950) is an Australian fantasy/eco-thriller author and marine scientist. ...

Clive Cussler's Fire Ice also mentions methane hydrate. It tells of how a Russian mining industrialist wants to detonate a bomb into three pockets off of the American coast creating large tsunamis. The intent was to swamp Boston, Charleston, and Miami. Clive Eric Cussler (born July 15, 1931 in Aurora, Illinois)[1][2] is an American adventure novelist and successful marine archaeologist. ... Paperback cover Fire Ice is the third book in the NUMA Files series of books co-written by best-selling author Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos, and was published in 2002. ...

In the anime Ergo Proxy, "the cascading release of methane hydrate" wipes out 85% of life on Earth. This suggests either an explosive event or the release of large quantities of methane from clathrates due to global warming. Original run 25 February 2006 – 12 August 2006 Episodes 23 Ergo Proxy ) is a science fiction suspense anime television series, produced by Manglobe, which premiered across Japan on 25 February 2006 on the WOWOW satellite network. ...

In the German bestseller The Swarm (Der Schwarm), an undersea intelligence known as the Yrr heats methane hydrate deposits to cause tsunamis in the North Sea. The Swarm (2004) is a fictional novel by Frank Schätzing. ... The North Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean, located between the coasts of Norway and Denmark in the east, the coast of the British Isles in the west, and the German, Dutch, Belgian and French coasts in the south. ...

In the movie Stealth, high-end fighter planes use Pulse detonation engines which use methane hydrate as the fuel. Stealth is a 2005 action/adventure thriller starring Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel and Jamie Foxx. ... A pulse detonation engine, or PDE, is a type of propulsion system that has the potential to be compact and powerful, and can operate from subsonic up to hypersonic speeds. ...

In The Great Sea Battle, an episode of Zoids: Guardian Force, the Ultrasaurus was able to fend off an attack from the Death Stinger by using depth charges to ignite an undersea pocket of methane hydrate. The Ultrasaurus (sometimes written Ultra Saurus) is a type of Zoid, a race of mechanical lifeforms from the fictional Zoids universe. ... The Death Stinger is a type of Zoid, a race of mechanical lifeforms from the fictional Zoids universe. ...

In Detective Conan: Jolly Roger in the Deep Azure, an island by the name of Yorioyajima was said to have sunk into the bottom of the sea 300 years ago following an earthquake, which had separated the methane and water molecules of the methane hydrate holding the island up, forming the sea ruin which the story revolves around.

In the anime Code Geass R2, the protagonist uses a methane hydrate deposit to fend off a naval attack by the Empire of Brittania, capsizing the entire fleet.

The novel The Far Shore of Time by Frederik Pohl features an alien race attempting to destroy humanity by bombing the methane clathrate reserves, thus releasing the gas into the atmosphere. The Far Shore of Time is a science fiction by Frederik Phol which concludes the Eschaton Sequence and the adventures of Dan Dannerman, an American government agent of the near future who becomes involved with the discovery of advanced and warring aliens. ... Frederik George Pohl, Jr. ...

See also

Future energy development, providing for the worlds future energy needs, currently faces great challenges. ... Hydrates are compounds formed by the union of water with some other substance, generally forming a neutral body, as certain crystallized salts. ... NASA image of the western Atlantic, showing the popular borders of the Bermuda Triangle. ... A clathrate or clathrate compound or cage compound is a chemical substance consisting of a lattice of one type of molecule trapping and containing a second type of molecule. ...


  1. ^ Roald Hoffmann (2006), Old Gas, New Gas, vol. 94, American Scientist, pp. pp. 16-18 
  2. ^ Dieter Luthi, et.al. (2008), High resolution carbon dioxide concentration record 650,000-800,000 years before present, vol. 453, Nature, pp. pp. 379-382 
  3. ^ Dec, Steven F.; Kristin E. Bowler, Laura L. Stadterman, Carolyn A. Koh, and E. Dendy Sloan, Jr. (2006). "Direct Measure of the Hydration Number of Aqueous Methane". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128 (2): 414 - 415. doi:10.1021/ja055283f.  Note: the number 20 is called a magic number equal to the number found for the amount of water molecules surrounding a hydronium ion.
  4. ^ Guggenheim, S; Koster van Groos AF (2003). "New gas-hydrate phase: Synthesis and stability of clay-methane hydrate intercalate". Geology 31 (7): 653-656. 
  5. ^ Vanneste, M. et al. (2001). "Multi-frequency seismic study of gas hydrate-bearing sediments in Lake Baikal, Siberia". Marine Geology 172: 1-21. 
  6. ^ a b c Kvenvolden, K. (1995). "A review of the geochemistry of methane in natural gas hydrate". Organic Geochemistry 23 (11-12): 997-1008. 
  7. ^ Dickens, GR; Paull CK, Wallace P (1997). "Direct measurement of in situ methane quantities in a large gas-hydrate reservoir". Nature 385 (6615): 426-428. 
  8. ^ Kvenvolden, 1998
  9. ^ Matsumoto, R. (1995). "Causes of the δ13C anomalies of carbonates and a new paradigm 'Gas Hydrate Hypothesis'". Jour. Geol. Soc. Japan 101: 902-924. 
  10. ^ Dickens et al., 1997
  11. ^ Matsumoto, R.; Watanabe, Y., Satoh, M., Okada, H., Hiroki, Y., Kawasaki, M., and ODP Leg 164 Shipboard Scientific Party (1996). "Distribution and occurrence of marine gas hydrates - preliminary results of ODP Leg 164: Blake Ridge Drilling". J. Geol. Soc. Japan 102: 932-944. 
  12. ^ Clathrates - little known components of the global carbon cycle
  13. ^ a b c d e f Milkov, AV (2004). "Global estimates of hydrate-bound gas in marine sediments: how much is really out there?". Earth-Sci Rev 66 (3-4): 183-197. 
  14. ^ Trofimuk, A.A.; Cherskiy, N.V. and Tsarev, V.P. (1973). Accumulation of natural gases in zones of hydrate—formation in the hydrosphere (in Russian). Doklady Akademii Nauk SSSR 212, 931–934. 
  15. ^ USGS World Energy Assessment Team, 2000. US Geological Survey world petroleum assessment 2000––description and results. USGS Digital Data Series DDS-60.
  16. ^ MacDonald, 1990
  17. ^ Geotimes — November 2004 — Methane Hydrate and Abrupt Climate Change
  18. ^ Background and organization
  19. ^ Agreements to boost bilateral ties
  20. ^ http://www.vg.no/pub/vgart.hbs?artid=184534 Norske forskere bak energirevolusjon, VB nett, in Norwegian

The Journal of the American Chemical Society (usually abbreviated as , or JACS), is a peer-reviewed scientific journal, published since 1879 by the American Chemical Society. ... A digital object identifier (or DOI) is a standard for persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property on a digital network and associating it with related data, the metadata, in a structured extensible way. ... The term magic number can refer to: Magic number - in sports, a number used to indicate how close a front-running team is to clinching a season title; Magic number - in computer programming, a special constant used for some specific purpose; Magic number - in nuclear physics, a number of nucleons... In chemistry, hydronium is the common name for the cation H3O+. // Nomenclature According to IUPAC ion nomenclature, it should be referred to as oxonium. ...

External links

  • China and India Exploit Icy Energy Reserves
  • USGS Geological Research Activities with U.S. Minerals Management Service - Methane Gas Hydrates
  • Uni. Göttingen, GZG Abt. Kristallographie -> Research ->Gashydrate (Clathrat-Hydrate) ENG
  • IFM-GEOMAR, Kiel, DE Burning ice picture
  • Methane Hydrates - discusses U.S. government funding of methane hydrates research
  • A research and development project in Japan
  • Centre for Gas Hydrate Research
  • All about Hydrates
  • Sustainable energy - Carbon Neutral Methane Energy Production from Hydrate Deposits
  • Natural gas studies in Canada
  • Are there deposits of methane under the sea? Will global warming release the methane to the atmosphere?
  • Picture story by German photographer Marc Steinmetz

  Results from FactBites:
Methane - New World Encyclopedia Preview (1902 words)
Methane is the simplest hydrocarbon, with the chemical formula CH In chemical terms, it is classified as an alkane.
In methane, the carbon-hydrogen covalent bond is among the strongest in all hydrocarbons.
Methane in the Earth's atmosphere is an important "greenhouse gas" that contributes to the "greenhouse effect." The Earth absorbs some of the Sun's energy and then emits energy at longer wavelengths.
Methane clathrate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1587 words)
Methane clathrates remain stable at temperatures up to 18 °C. The average methane clathrate hydrate composition is 1 mole of methane for every 5.75 moles of water, though this is dependent on how many methane molecules "fit" into the various cage structures of the water lattice.
Methane clathrates in continental rocks are trapped in beds of sandstone or siltstone at depths of less than 800m.
Because methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, ten times as effective as carbon dioxide, the sudden release of large amounts of natural gas from methane clathrate deposits has been hypothesized as a cause of past and possibly future climate changes.
  More results at FactBites »



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