What Is Methane Hydrate?

Also known as "flaming ice," this natural resource could radically change the energy conversation. 

"What If We Never Run Out of Oil?," Charles C. Mann's May 2013 Atlantic cover story, weighs the potential impact of a vast, untapped reserve of natural energy under the sea: methane hydrate. What is it? NowThis News, the social and mobile video news network, explains the science in the short video above.

Carolyn Ruppel, the chief of the gas hydrates project at the U.S. Geological Survey, says the frozen material feels "like pop rocks" when you hold it in your hand. It fizzes, she says, because the highly concentrated methane gas is being released as it melts. The potential impact on the planet's ecosystem is huge -- NowThis News explains that the methane hydrate on our planet packs more energy than coal, oil, and natural gas combined. 

Read more here

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus