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Looking out from Alvin submersible at near surface hydrates at Hydrate Ridge. Photo courtesy of Scientific Party, RV Atlantis/Alvin Expedition: NSF/Dorv II (2006). Bubbles frozen in the ice at Lake Baikal.  Photo courtesy of:  University of Ghent. Gas bubbles coming to the ocean surface.  Photo courtesy of: IFM-GEOMAR Massive methane hydrate formed beneath a carbonate ledge (top) overhanging a seafloor cold seep on the Blake Ridge Diapir. Such formations of massive hydrates are unusual and are not representative of overall occurrence types. Photo courtesy WHOI/USGS. Near surface hydrates photographed during an Alvin dive, Hydrate Ridge. Scientific Party, RV Atlantis/Alvin Expedition: NSF/Dorv II (2006). Close-up of an ice-worm that feeds on methantropic bacteria associated with gas hydrates occurrences in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo courtesy of: Charles Fisher, Penn State (image)  This close-up photo shows a dense colony of one-to-two inch-long polychaete worms living on and in the surface of the methane hydrate. Photo courtesy of: Charles Fisher, Penn State. Text courtesy of: Penn State (image)  Methane hydrates are mounds of ice (crystallized structures of methane & water) that can form under conditions of low temperature and high pressure. Photo courtesy of: Charles Fisher, Penn State. Text courtesy of: Penn State (image)

Methane gas hydrates occur in a number of locations around the world. Geologically, methane gas hydrates are found both in oceanic/lacustrine

and permafrost environments. This gallery presents a glimpse of methane gas hydrates in their natural setting.

Visible hydrates in a core sample. Photo courtesy of: IFM-GEOMAR. The modular dynamics formation tester (or MDT) tool enables short duration scientific testing of gas hydrate reservoir properties; April 2011. Photo courtesy of ConocoPhillips. A curious local (Arctic fox) observing the research activities near the Ignik Sikumi well site, April 2011. Photo courtesy of Ray Boswell. The drill bit used at the holes during the April 2009 Gulf of Mexico JIP Leg II gas hydrate expedition. Photo courtesy of the Gulf of Mexico JIP Leg II Science Team. Helix Q4000 platform crew running pipe during the April 2009 Gulf of Mexico JIP Leg II gas hydrate expedition. Photo courtesy of the Gulf of Mexico JIP Leg II Science Team. More drilling operations during the April 2009 Gulf of Mexico JIP Leg II gas hydrate expedition. Photo courtesy of the Gulf of Mexico JIP Leg II Science Team. The Nordic #3 rig on site at the Ignik Sikumi well location, April 2011. Photo courtesy of ConocoPhillips. Well cementing operations underway at the Ignik Sikumi well, April 2011. Photo courtesy of ConocoPhillips. The Ignik Sikumi well being drilled from an ice pad (foreground) adjacent to the Prudhoe Bay Unit L-pad (background); April 2011. Photo courtesy of ConocoPhillips. Drilling tools laid out on deck during the April 2009 Gulf of Mexico JIP Leg II gas hydrate expedition; from left to right: EcoScope, TeleScope, SonicVision and PeriScope. Photo courtesy of the Gulf of Mexico JIP Leg II Science Team. Derrick of the Q4000 platform during the Gulf of Mexico JIP Leg II gas hydrate expedition, April 2009. Photo courtesy of the Gulf of Mexico JIP Leg II Science Team. Q4000 platform on location at the Walker Ridge 313 well site during the April 2009 Gulf of Mexico JIP Leg II gas hydrate expidition. Photo courtesy of the Gulf of Mexico JIP Leg II Science Team. Veins of sediment and seashells visible in hydrate sample. Photo courtesy of: IFM-GEOMAR. Methane gas hydrate sample. Methane gas is trapped within this ice-like solid, initially thought to be found only in the outer solar system.  Photo courtesy of: IFM-GEOMAR. Drilling vehicle in position. Photo courtesy of: Geological Survey of Canada An example of a thick, clean hydrate sample. Photo courtesy of: IFM-GEOMAR. The Mallik drilling well in Northern Canada.  Photo courtesy of: Geological Survey of Canada Splitting open the sediment core. Photo courtesy of: University of Ghent. Science team at the Mallik drilling well.  Photo courtesy of: Geological Survey of Canada Scientists examining sediment cores collected during the 2008 PGC Piston Coring Expedition off the Cascadia Margin. Photo courtesy of: U.S. Geological Survey A crew member with a lit sample of gas hydrate. Photo courtesy of: IFM-GEOMAR. Scientific party with hydrate recovered from the expedition UBGH01, Ulleng Basin in East Korea. Photo courtesy of: KIGAM Drilling into the ice. Photo courtesy of: IFM-GEOMAR. Disseminated occurrence of methane gas hydrates in sandy marine sediment cores. Photo courtesy of: KIGAM Hydrate bearing sand core. Photo courtesy of: KIGAM After removal from the piston, the core liner is measured to determine the total length of recovered sediment and is marked in preparation for cutting into meter-long segments. Photo courtesy of: University of Ghent. Splitting sediment cores collected during the 2010 expedition in the Beaufort Sea. Photo courtesy of: NETL Cutting into a large block of hydrate. Photo courtesy of: IFM-GEOMAR Mount Elbert Well. Photo courtesy of: NETL Examination of core sedimentology samples using a petrographic microscope - Korean gas hydrate expedition 2007. Photo courtesy of: NETL The ice road is a treacherous but necessary means of transport for accessing the Mallik drilling site in Canada. Photo courtesy of: Geological Survey of Canada The Mallik drilling well is known as being the production site of the first constant stream of natural gas - from Methane Gas Hydrates.  Photo courtesy of: Geological Survey of Canada Hydrate bearing sand core from the Mount Elbert well, Alaska. Photo courtesy of: NETL Large pores can be seen in this gas hydrate sample. Photo courtesy of: IFM-GEOMAR Trucks at the Mallik drilling well. Photo courtesy of: Geological survey of Canada At work on the Mallik drilling well. Photo courtesy of: Geological Survey of Canada Working out on the ice. Photo courtesy of: Geological Survey of Canada Working with machinery at a drill site. Photo courtesy of: Geological Survey of Canada For a couple of months each year, truckers must navigate frozen river and ocean water areas to transport loads to and from the Mallik drilling well site. Photo courtesy of: Geological Survey of Canada Science team at the Mallik drilling site.  Photo courtesy of: Geological Survey of Canada Workers at the Mallik drilling site.  Photo courtesy of: Geological Survey of Canada Science team at rest at the Mallik drilling site.  Photo courtesy of: Geological Survey of Canada At work on the Mallik drilling well.  Photo courtesy of: Geological Survey of Canada Researchers at the Mallik drilling well.  Photo courtesy of: Geological Survey of Canada Science team on the Mallik drilling site.  Photo courtesy of: Geological Survey of Canada Researcher at the Mallik drilling well.  Photo courtesy of: Geological Survey of Canada On the ice road to the Mallik drilling site, water is used to flood and reinforce the roadway in preparation for the transportation of heavy drilling equipment, such as this ice auger. Photo courtesy of: Geological Survey of Canada Working high in the Mackenzie River Delta, Canada, scientists are gaining an understanding of the role of natural gas hydrates in climate change and as a potential source of World energy. Photo courtesy of: Geological Survey of Canada Compact gas hydrate sample with sediment. Photo courtesy of: IFM-GEOMAR Taking pore-water samples from sediment core. Photo courtesy of: NETL Field work conditions on Lake Baikal, Russia, during Winter. Photo courtesy of: L. Naudts, RCMG, Gent Assessing core that has just arrived on deck - Korean gas hydrate expedition 2007. Photo courtesy of: NETL Thin vein patterns in the sediment core. Photo courtesy of: O. Khlystov Veins of gas hydrate visible in a sediment sample from the Gulf of Mexico. Photo courtesy of: IFM-GEOMAR. Researchers sampling sediment cores aboard the USCG vessel The Polar Sea, during an expedition in the U.S. Beaufort Sea. Photo courtesy of: NETL A photomicrograph (x20 magnification) of foraminifera from hydrate-bearing sediment core. The study of foraminifera leads to a better understanding of the Earth's climatic past amongst other fields of interest. Photo courtesy of: NETL A photomicrograph (x20 magnification) of pumice and  quartz grains from hydrate-bearing sediment core. Photo courtesy of: NETL A photomicrograph (x 63 magnification) of nanofossils (plant and animal material) from hydrate-bearing sediment core. Sedimentary rocks and materials such as this contain information about ancient environments. Photo courtesy of: NETL Shards of volcanic glass from a hydrate-bearing sediment core viewed under the microscope at 10x magnification in a coarse fraction sample. Photo courtesy of: NETL Researcher taking natural gas samples from sediment cores aboard the USCG vessel The Polar Sea, during the 2009 expedition in the U.S. Beaufort Sea. Photo courtesy of: NETL Researcher conducting tests on sediment cores aboard the USCG vessel The Polar Sea during the 2009 expedition in the U.S. Beaufort Sea. Photo courtesy of: NETL Scientist working on a core sample from the Arctic Ocean. Photo courtesy of: NETL Scientific team aboard the CCGS Tully during the July-August 2008 research cruise off the Cascadia Margin. Photo courtesy of: PGC Close-up hydrate core. Photo Courtesy of: Geological Survey of Canada Scientists with hydrate-bearing core samples from the Gulf of Mexico. Photo courtesy of: IFM-GEOMAR. Sand-rich core sample from the Mount Elbert gas hydrate well, Alaska North Slope. Photo courtesy of: NETL

Research on methane gas hydrates has been progressing for decades. Subjects of interest include global distribution, geohazards linked to human activities, ecosystems associated to near surface

occurrences, technology issues linked to possible production and future scenarios about methane gas hydrates in the global energy mix. The following gallery places methane gas hydrates in the context of
current human activities such as exploration and production research and scientific field and laboratory studies.

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Fire and ice. Photo courtesy of: J. Pinkston and L. Stern / U.S. Geological Survey Natural gas being released from a sample of hydrate, extracted from the ocean floor. Photo courtesy of: IFM-GEOMAR Floating hydrate samples set alight. Photo courtesy of: IFM-GEOMAR Natural gas emanating from a labratory-produced methane gas hydrate set alight at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii. Photo courtesy of: HNEI, SOEST, University of Hawaii Demonstrating the disassociation of natural gas hydrates. Photo courtesy of: IFM-GEOMAR Natural gas being released from a sample of hydrate. Photo courtesy of: IFM-GEOMAR Demonstrating burning methane gas hydrates. Photo courtesy of: IFM-GEOMAR Demonstrating fire (and ice!) Photo courtesy of: IFM-GEOMAR Natural gas emanating from disassociation of natural gas hydrate, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Photo courtesy of: P. Walz, MBARI A sediment core set alight. Photo courtesy of: O. Khlystov
Methane gas hydrates might look like pieces of snow or ice, but locked within their crystalline structure is a flammable gas. Although methane gas
hydrates are unstable at lower pressures and higher temperatures, they are not spontaneously combustible. All the pictures in this gallery represent disassociating methane gas hydrates that were
artificially ignited. Burning of methane gas hydrates releases carbon dioxide and melt water.
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Kasumi Fuji of JOGMEC describes monitoring techniques used during exploration and production testing of gas hydrates. Video courtesy of the Geological Survey of Canada. Disassociated gas hydrates in the water column at Hydrate Ridge. Video courtesy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). What are methane gas hydrates? Video courtesy of the Geological Survey of Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Scott Dallimore of Natural Resources Canada discusses the state of the art in technology and provides an explanation of the breakthrough research on methane gas hydrates at the Mallik Site. Video courtesy of the Geological Survey of Canada. Where do methane gas hydrates occur? A short visual presentation of the locations of hydrate sites around the World. Video courtesy of the Geological Survey of Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Research began on the Mallik drill site¨with team members from 5 countries in 1998. The result is record-breaking production testing and successful extraction of methane gas from hydrates. Hear more from Scott Dallimore of Natural Resources Canada. How does the natural environment at the Mallik site effect drilling? Scott Dallimore of Natural Resources Canada explains the process of drilling down to a depth of 900-1100 m through 600 m permafrost. Video courtesy of the Geological Survey of Canada. A short clip about accessing the Mallik site in winter, narrated by Scott Dallimore of Natural Resources Canada. Video courtesy of the Geological Survey of Canada. Scott Dallimore of Natural Resources Canada describes the unique environment of the Mackenzie Delta. Video courtesy of the Geological Survey of Canada. The 2008 Mallik production testing produced an output of 13,000 cubic meters of natural gas. Find out more about this second winter of testing here. Video courtesy of Geological Survey of Canada. Scott Dallimore of Natural Resources Canada describes the energy potential of methane gas hydrates. Video courtesy of the Geological Survey of Canada. Waters surrounding Japan are thought to host large amounts of natural gas in the form of hydrates. For a country relying almost completely on imported energy, this discovery of national importance. Video courtesy of JOGMEC. Learn more about the permafrost environmental conditions and drilling process for hydrates in the Mackenzie Delta. Video courtesy of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Presentation by project leader Yannick Beaudoin: 7th International Conference on Gas Hydrates, 17-21 July, 2011. Discover more about the depressurization technique used in the production of methane hydrate at the Mallik Well in 2007 and 2008. Video courtesy of JOGMEC. In 2002, MBARI conducted controlled experiments on the fate of natural hydrates which are disturbed from the sea floor, at a depth of 780 m by a ROV (remotely operated vehicle). Video courtesy of Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). A CBC News report about cooperation at the Mallik site between the Aurora Research Institute, the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) and a team of international scientists. Video courtesy of: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Find out more about the challenges and successes of the Mallik 2002 Gas Hydrate Research Well Program in this chronicle. Video courtesy of the Japan Natinal Oil Corporation and the Geological Survey of Canada. A feature report entitled 'Land of Fire', which explores methane gas hydrates in the Canadian Arctic. Video courtesy of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
A selection of videos and media documentaries related to methane gas hydrate research.