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Fire in the Ice

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  • 10 photos

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.