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Out Of Mind » SOLAR & PLANETARY ALERTS & INFO » ATMOSPHERIC CHANGES » Massive seafloor craters found in waters off New Zealand

Massive seafloor craters found in waters off New Zealand

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Massive seafloor craters found in waters off New Zealand

Posted on April 4, 2013 by END TIME HEADLINES

– An international team of scientists have found
what they believe are the world’s biggest ” pockmarks” — craters formed
by seafloor eruptions of gas or fluids — in waters off New Zealand. The
New Zealand, German and U.S. scientists found the pockmarks at a depth
of about 1,000 meters on the seafloor of the Chatham Rise, about 500 km
east of Christchurch. The three giant pockmarks, the largest measuring
11 km by 6 km in diameter and 100 meters deep, were possibly twice the
size of the largest pockmarks recorded in scientific literature, said a
statement from New Zealand’s Institute of Geological and Nuclear
Sciences (GNS Science). The craters were part of a much larger field of
thousands of smaller pockmarks that extended eastward along the Chatham
Rise for several hundred kilometers. “Some of the pockmarks on the
Chatham Rise are huge compared to similar structures observed elsewhere
in the world,” GNS Science marine geophysicist Bryan Davy said in the
statement. “They are big enough to enclose the Wellington city urban
area, or (New York’s) lower Manhattan.” Gas release from the larger
pockmarks could have been sudden and possibly even violent, with a
massive volume expelled into the ocean and atmosphere within hours or
days. Scientists could not rule out volcanic activity having caused the
release of gas, but another possibility was the release of sub- seafloor
hydrocarbon gas, which would have coincided with drops in the sea level
of about 100 meters during ice ages and subsequent warming of sea
temperatures. University of Auckland gas hydrate scientist Ingo Pecher
said there was no sign of active gas systems in the larger pockmarks,
but the smaller ones in shallower water appeared to have been
sporadically active. “Gas escape could be occurring from the smaller
pockmarks during glacial intervals every 20,000 or 100,000 years,”
Pecher said in the statement. “Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and
the escape of big volumes would have significant implications for
climate change and ocean acidification,” he said. The research had
global implications because the episodic and cumulative release of
greenhouse gases into the ocean and atmosphere in the geological past
would have contributed to episodes of global warming. EP

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