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U.S. Geological Survey Gas Hydrates Project
Schematic showing the general setting of seeps on the Atlantic margin
Gas hydrate (methane ice) mixed with gray sediment
Scanning electron microscope image of gas hydrate crystals
Ice-like gas hydrates under capping rock encrusted with mussels
Science Center Objects
The USGS Gas Hydrates Project focuses on the study of natural gas hydrates in deepwater marine systems and permafrost areas. The primary goals are:
- Evaluate methane hydrates as a potential energy source
- Investigate the interaction between methane hydrate destabilization and climate change at short and long time scales, particularly in the Arctic
- Study the spatial and temporal connections between submarine slope failures and gas hydrate dynamics
The Gas Hydrate Project conducts multidisciplinary field studies, participates in national and international deep drilling expeditions, and maintains a laboratory program focused on hydrate-bearing sediments.
The USGS Gas Hydrates Project focuses on gas hydrates in the natural environment and seeks to advance understanding of (a) the potential of gas hydrates as an energy resource; (b) the role of gas hydrates in climate change, as well as their susceptibility to climate change; and (c) gas hydrates and the stability of submarine slopes. The Gas Hydrates Project maintains an extensive laboratory program to support research in these core areas.
The USGS Gas Hydrates Project has been making contributions to advance understanding of US and international gas hydrates science for over two decades. The research group working on gas hydrates at the USGS is among the largest in the US and has expertise in all the major geoscience disciplines, as well as in the physics and chemistry of gas hydrates, the geotechnical properties of hydrate-bearing sediments, and the biogeochemistry of marine and permafrost gas hydrate systems. The group includes field-based scientists, numerical modelers, laboratory scientists, and supporting technical personnel for marine, permafrost, and laboratory operations. Much of the research is carried out in collaboration with other federal agencies or academic partners, and there are frequently opportunities to collaborate on international programs that jointly serve the Project's mission and the goals of the international partners.