"Identifying an abiotic source of deep-sea methane has been a problem that we've been wrestling with for many years," says Jeffrey Seewald a senior scientist at WHOI who studies geochemistry in hydrothermal systems and is one of the study's authors.
Of 160 rock samples analyzed from across the world's oceans, almost all contained pockets of methane. These oceanic deposits make up a reservoir exceeding the amount of methane in Earth's atmosphere before industrialization, estimates Frieder Klein, a marine geologist at WHOI and lead author of the study.
Pool - Methane - Crust - Mantle - Klein
"We were totally surprised to find this massive pool of abiotic methane in the oceanic crust and mantle," Klein says.
The scientists analyzed rocks using Raman spectroscopy, a laser-based microscope that allows them to identify fluids and minerals in a thin slice of rock. Nearly...
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