All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Maine Sea Floor Has Gas

Maine's sea floor is pockmarked with craters — the largest, in Belfast Bay, measuring more than 650 feet in width and 100 feet in depth. Now a team of UM scientists, led by geologists Joe Kelley and Daniel Belknap, has discovered why.

It turns out that gas trapped in the mud occasionally escapes, producing a crater with each eruption. Most of the pockmarks are between 32 and 260 feet in diameter.
Between Portland and Eastport, there are 70 known methane gas fields, primarily in the deepest and muddiest bays close to shore. Although the gas fields have no commercial value, the scientists say, some pose a hazard for man-made objects placed on the sea floor, such as utility lines that stretch between the mainland and islands.


Kelley said Maine fishermen in the past have reported seeing bubbles and plumes of mud. Divers have told stories of pockmarks that produced bubbles like the carbonation in soda. During the Cold War, a fisherman in Belfast Bay saw bubbles and concluded that a Soviet submarine was prowling the Maine coast.

The ocean floor off the Maine coast is surprisingly active, Belknap said. "I visualize a pot of tomato soup bubbling constantly," he said. [Link]
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At 2:49 PM, January 04, 2006, Blogger Michelle Souliere said...

Bubbling tomato soup indeed!

This is directly related to the crazy Kittery Point fire I was mentioning...



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