Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 19 Issue 04

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Volume 19, No. 4
Pages 124 - 142

Gas Hydrates in Marine Sediments: Lessons from Scientific Ocean Drilling

Anne M. TréhuCarolyn Ruppel Melanie Holland Gerald R. DickensMarta E. Torres Timothy S. Collett David GoldbergMichael Riedel Peter Schultheiss
First Paragraph

Certain low-molecular-weight gases, such as methane, ethane, and carbon dioxide, can combine with water to form ice-like substances at high pressure or low temperature. These compounds, commonly called gas hydrates, concentrate gas in solid form and occur naturally in sediment beneath the Arctic permafrost and in the sediments of the continental slope. A decomposing piece of gas hydrate can be ignited and will sustain a flame as the methane is released, producing the phenomenon of “burning ice.”


Tréhu, A.M., C. Ruppel, M. Holland, G.R. Dickens, M.E. Torres, T.S. Collett, D. Goldberg, M. Riedel, and P. Schultheiss. 2006. Gas hydrates in marine sediments: Lessons from scientific ocean drilling. Oceanography 19(4):124–142, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2006.11.