May 26th 2017

Investigate methane leaks on the seabed

Lofoten-Vesterålen Margin with its distinctive canyon landscape (left). The red rectangle shows the outline of the work area during the trip with "FF G.O. Sars". To the right, the location to be mapped is shown, two depressions of 750 meters water depth.
An area in the ocean west of Lofoten will be investigated for methane leaks in the summer. Researchers will conduct detailed video inspection of the seabed around the leakage and take samples of carbonate crusts.

"We have identified an area on the continental slope in the ocean west of Lofoten in Nordland, indicating that there has been a continuous leakage of methane. Here we find carbonate crust that are derived from methane and a high density of bacterial mats", researcher Jochen Knies at the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU) says.

Underwater vehicle

A cruise with the research vessel "G.O. Sars" in August will bring an account of how this depressions on the seabed really looks like. Researchers at NGU and at UiT - the Arctic University of Norway will use a remote controlled underwater vehicle in the detailed survey of both sediments, carbonate crusts and the leaks of methane gas from the seabed.

"The goal is to determine when the gas leak started and how the fluid flow systems work here. With our research, we can contribute to a better understanding at what time methane from the seabed has released to the atmosphere and if more emissions have occurred while the climate of the past was changing", Knies says. The depth of the sea in the area is approximately 750 meters.

In cold waters

This is the second cruise by "FF G.O. Sars" in the NGU project NORCRUST, which is funded by the Research Council of Norway and is studying gas-impregnated sediment on the seabed in cold waters in the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea.

The work is being done in collaboration with the Center for Excellence "CAGE - Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate " at the Arctic University of Norway.

The red lines mark two depressions to be investigated. The pictures of bacterial mats and carbonate crusts have been taken during a tour of the MAREANO seabed program.


Relaterte prosjekter

"NORCRUST - Norwegian margin fluid systems and methane derived carbonate crusts" is a collaborative project lead by the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU), funded by The Research Council of Norway's (NFR) PETROMAKS 2 programme.