Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Press Room
5 February 2007

Images related to the news release
Methane bubbling through seafloor creates undersea hills

Note: These images may not be copied, reprinted, or used without explicit permission from MBARI. Members of the media needing higher-resolution versions should contact Kim Fulton-Bennett, kfb@mbari.org, 831-775-1835.


Image credit: Kim Fulton-Bennett (c) 2007 MBARI

This conceptual drawing (not to scale) shows Paull's hypothesis that methane gas from deep hydrate deposits could push sediment up from below the ocean bottom to create a pingo-like feature. The gray lines in the background are from a seismic profile through one of these enigmatic features.


Image credit: (c) 2003 Charlie Paull

This photograph shows a terrestrial pingo rising on the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula, in far northern Canada. "Pingo-like features" are similar in shape, but form on the floor of the Arctic Ocean.


Image credit: (c) 2006 MBARI

Although methane hydrates are not stable at the seafloor in the area of Paull's study, they do appear on the seafloor in some deeper areas. This hydrate is exposed on the seafloor off the coast of British Columbia. Pure methane hydrate is white, but this outcrop contains hydrocarbons that give the hydrate a yellowish or brownish cast.


Image credit: (c) 2003 Charlie Paull

Researchers tried several methods for collecting methane gas that bubbles up from pingo-like features into the frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean.


Image credit: (c) 2003 Charlie Paull

Paull and his coworkers used this small robot submarine to videotape images of gas bubbling up from the seafloor. With a little ingenuity (and a kitchen funnel) they used the submarine to collect samples of this gas for laboratory analysis on shore.


Image credit: (c) 2003 Charlie Paull

Sediment cores collected from the floor of the Arctic Ocean helped the research team understand more about the history of this remote ocean basin. The snow on the deck of the ship is a reminder of the challenges that scientists face in Arctic research.

Last updated: Apr. 21, 2009