Scientists have discovered a deposit of a solid form of natural gas off the east coast of Canada. Great hopes are being pinned on the discovery, which could address global energy concerns because the deposit is expected to be amenable to commercial exploitation. The discovery was recently presented at the American Geophysical Union's meeting in San Francisco.
Natural gas hydrates (stored in solid form at low temperatures and high pressure) are normally found under oceans or in permafrost. Scientists estimate that around 10,000 billion tonnes of carbon is stored in this form around the world more than double the supply of coal, oil and natural gas. The huge untapped energy source has drawn the attention of mineral companies. But the deposits are difficult to reach. The high concentrations of gas hydrate at shallow depths will be more accessible to mining and give scientists information about how to handle deeper deposits.The deposits they found near Canada were buried in a 20-metre-layer of sand.
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