IODP Expedition 311 returns to port with core samples
An international team of scientists supported by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) has completed a unique research expedition aimed at recovering samples of gas hydrate, an ice-like substance hidden beneath the seafloor off Canadas western coast. Gas hydrate, a mixture of water and mostly methane, is believed to occur under the worlds oceans in great abundance, but it quickly "melts" once removed from the high pressure and cold temperatures of its natural environment, making it very challenging to recover and analyze.
"Were interested in gas hydrate because we believe these deposits have played an important role in ancient global climate change," explains Michael Riedel of Natural Resources Canadas Geological Survey of Canada, IODP Expedition 311s co-chief scientist. "This expedition is the first to explore a transect of deep drilling research sites across the Cascadia Continental Margin and will yield new data that will help us understand the deep origin of the methane that composes the gas hydrate, how the methane is transported into the sediments where gas hydrate exists, and how methane is eventually released into the ocean, and possibly, into the atmosphere where it could impact climate."
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