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Hydrate formation from CH4 released during serpentinisation. How important it is on Earth?

Project Description

Project Rationale:
Methane hydrate is an ice-like substance that forms at high pressures and low temperatures when sufficient methane is available in continental margins and deep ocean sediments. Serpentinisation is a low to intermediate temperature (100 to 700°C) metamorphic process that occurs when some mantle rock forming minerals such as olivine, come into contact with water. Vast zones of exhumed and serpentinised mantle are exposed at slow to ultraslow spreading ridges. Serpentinisation of olivine in the presence of carbon dioxide releases methane that can potentially be stored in hydrate form within the pores/fractures of the serpentinite or in the sedimentary overburden, if stable hydrate temperature and pressure conditions exist. Globally, most hydrate forming methane is produced by degradation of organic matter. However, abiotic methane from serpentinisation may be an important source of methane forming hydrates in slow to ultraslow spreading ocean basins, such as in areas below the Arctic Ocean, and also amagmatic continental margins. This project aims to understand, quantify and assess the contribution of abiotic methane to the formation of hydrate in all known slow to ultraslow spreading ocean basins on Earth. Insights from this work will also contribute to current theories about the possibility of abiotic methane forming hydrate in Mars.

Funding Notes

You can apply for fully-funded studentships (stipend and fees) from INSPIRE if you:
Are a UK or EU national.
Have no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK.
Have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the project.

Please click View Website for more information on eligibilty and how to apply


Johnson, J. E., et al. (2015). "Abiotic methane from ultraslow-spreading ridges can charge Arctic gas hydrates." Geology 43(5): 371-374.

Bayrakci, G., et al. (2018). "Anisotropic Physical Properties of Mafic and Ultramafic Rocks From an Oceanic Core Complex." Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 19(11): 4366-4384.

Marín-Moreno, H., et al. (2016). "The challenges of quantifying the carbon stored in Arctic marine gas hydrate." Marine and Petroleum Geology 71: 76-82.

How good is research at University of Southampton in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 68.62

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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