28 No. 4
Ice that Burns* Burning Questions about Gas Hydrates
hydrates are nothing less than ice that burns. In an era of
growing concern about energy prices and shortages, gas hydrates
offer the potential of a vast new source of natural gas. These
odd gas traps also are playing a role in the debate over global
Canadian fishing crew hauled in an unusual catch off the coast
of Vancouver Island several years ago. Instead of fish, they
netted what looked like a 450-kilogram chunk of ice. Unlike
ordinary ice, however, it began to hiss and steam. If a crew
member had struck a match, the chunk would have burst into
ship had unwittingly discovered a large reserve of methane
hydrate, a strange conglomeration of water ice and methane
packed with hopes and fears in this era of growing concerns
about energy supplies and energys impact on the environment.
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from Chemistry, winter 2006 issue, pages 2733.
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