Massive seafloor craters found in waters off New Zealand

April 4, 2012 –  NEW ZEALAND – 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. –NZ Week
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4 Responses to Massive seafloor craters found in waters off New Zealand

  1. mtnwolf63 says:

    Methane causes ocean acidification, so is that what’s causing the massive fish kills?
    A massive amount of Methane must be rising rapidly from the sea floor.

    “Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and the escape of big volumes would have significant implications for climate change and ocean acidification”

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  2. Gav says:

    Interesting re the craters but the utter rubbish about greenhouse gases makes me sick.
    This BS is unproven and is used to scare people into willingly pay more in taxes to the Govt in fuel and other taxes.
    The only people that are benefiting from green house emissions are people like Al Gore, the scientists that give us these bogus reports and bankers who jumped on the carbon emmission scheme as soon as they could – that should be an indication of the real goal – $$. CO2 emissions have occurred for at least 6000 years, and the planet has heated and cooled all by itself. Climate change, what BS!

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    • Scott says:

      I would think that everyone realizes that both the greenhouse effect and carbon dioxide are essential to life on Earth, the effect has been well-known for some time. Only in the past few years has it been used with negative connotations, dividing those interested on the topic and the position of anthropogenic climate change or anthropogenic global warming (AGW)

      As with a greenhouse structure, our atmosphere provides Infrared (IR) and ultraviolet and to some degree visible light absorption. The interior of the greenhouse assumes a higher temperature than it otherwise would because the absorbed short-wave radiation and re-emitted of long-wave radiation that gets absorbed, trapped or redirected.

      • the atmosphere has variable opacity across the IR spectrum – it is almost completely opaque at some wavelengths, transparent at others.
      • N2 does no absorption, nor does any diatomic, and O2 absorbs only in the far UV (where there is little solar energy flux): the dominant constituents of the atmosphere are incredibly transparent and absorb no energy incoming or outgoing across almost the whole infrared spectral range.
      • the absorption of terrestrial radiation is dominated by triatomic molecules – O3 in the UV and IR, H2O, CO2, CH4, O3, N2O and others in the IR because triatomic molecules have rotational and vibrational modes that can easily be excited by radiation in the IR and absorb that energy completely for the concentration present. The higher the concentration the more energy absorbed directly proportional to the concentration. This is the fundamental reason why atmospheric radiation may be so vulnerable to the human induced changes in composition
      • undisputed increase in atmospheric CO2, near steady increase from Industrial Age currently my analytical by FTIR is 396.8 ppm, some labs still reporting 395 as of March 2013.
      • The major greenhouse gases are water vapor, which causes about 36–70% of the greenhouse effect; carbon dioxide (CO2), 9–26%; methane (CH4), 4–9%; and ozone (O3), which causes 3–7%

      You hear little about water vapor in the debate. I suspect it complicates the topic for those that really don’t understand and takes any discussion from simple to complex very quick.

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  3. Lilly says:

    Did anyone inspect the plane. We automatically assume that earth would retain its place its plane in reference to the other planets and the sun? Could earth become “lighter” and rise above the plane or heavier and sink below he plane?

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