Sunday, January 24, 2016

Natural Methane Seeps - Very Common

Subtitle: Aliso Canyon Leak Is Nothing New 

An article today (Los Angeles Times, known for False-Alarmism) harps on and on about the leaking methane gas from the Aliso Canyon gas storage system near Los Angeles, California.   The article complains that the methane released will create massive global warming.    What utter rubbish.   (see link to LA Times article)

The fact is that methane is seeping into the atmosphere, naturally, and from thousands of locations worldwide.  It has been seeping, or even venting, for thousands of years.   The tiny bit from Aliso Canyon will not even be a blip on the radar.  

Here is what a 2014 news release from the USGS had to say about newly-discovered natural methane seeps offshore the US Atlantic coast:  (see link)

"Natural methane leakage from the seafloor is far more widespread on the U.S. Atlantic margin than previously thought, according to a study by researchers from Mississippi State University, the U.S. Geological Survey, and other institutions.

Methane plumes identified in the water column between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and Georges Bank, Massachusetts, are emanating from at least 570 seafloor cold seeps on the outer continental shelf and the continental slope.  Taken together, these areas, which lie between the coastline and the deep ocean, constitute the continental margin.  Prior to this study, only three seep areas had been identified beyond the edge of the continental shelf, which occurs at approximately 180 meters (590 feet) water depth between Florida and Maine on the U.S. Atlantic seafloor."

Other natural methane leaks have existed (and still do) in many places around the world.  One such leak was offshore Santa Barbara, California, with such volume that bubbles were frequent at the ocean surface.  Lightning strikes sometime ignited the gas, and it appeared that the ocean was on fire.   That must have been a strange sight.  Eventually, an oil company obtained permission to cap the methane seep on the ocean floor, trap the gas and pipe it to shore for beneficial use.  

Other natural seeps occur in Indonesia, and many locations in the Middle East.    In fact, one of the several ways that oil companies collect data for decisions on where to drill is to measure methane concentration in water just above the ocean floor.  The idea is that cracks in the seabed allow methane to flow upward into the ocean.  Even if no bubbles form, the methane is dissolved in the water and can be detected.  

Also, here in Los Angeles, one can see methane vents along many streets.  These are associated with underground vaults, such as electric companies install for their equipment.   The methane is prevented from collecting in the underground vaults, and creating an explosive or toxic atmosphere.   The natural leaking of methane is widespread over a huge area of Southern California.  

More examples of natural methane leaks are the explosions a few years ago in a mall in Los Angeles in 1989 and another in 1985.    

One cannot believe the false-alarmism of the global warming crowd.   Natural gas has been seeping out of the ground, and under the sea, for millenia.    Any trip to the Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles will display the frequent bubbles bursting on the liquid tar's surface.   Those bubbles are not air.  Those are methane.  

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
copyright (c) 2016 by Roger Sowell, all rights reserved

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