Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute – Crab Eating Frozen Gas
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[Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute – Crab Eating Frozen Gas]
[Lonny Lundsten:] Source: LYBIO.net
In 2011 scientists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute were investigating oil seeps and frozen methane gas, or methane hydrates, in the deep sea off the coast of British Columbia. While exploring at a depth of 1,260 meters, the team observed a small stream of methane gas bubbles emanating from the seafloor.
Naturally-occurring hydrocarbons, like methane gas, are found in great quantities and in close proximity to dense communities of animals, but what is not fully understood is how these hydrocarbons impact deep-sea organisms.
While examining this stream of bubbles the scientists observed a nearby crab, which may have sensed the pulsing in the water column, walk over to inspect the disturbance. The crab reached out to grasp what it likely perceived as a potential meal. However, the methane gas bubbles instantly formed a solid hydrate as they attached to the crab’s claws.
The chemical reaction that turns gas into ice at this depth and temperature may have given the sensation of something slightly warm and mushy. The crab attempted to feed on the hydrate, but its mouthparts, or mandibles, became frozen together forming a “milk mustache” of solid hydrate.
At this point the crab seemed to realize that it had made a mistake in consuming the methane hydrate and attempted to remove the now-offending material, seen as small flakes of hydrate floating away.
This story demonstrates an interesting deep-sea phenomenon: given the right temperature and pressure conditions, a gas can become a frozen solid. In fact, pure methane hydrate is 20 times harder than pure water ice.
While no conclusions can be drawn from this encounter, it does shed some light on how some organisms interact with naturally-occurring hydrocarbons in the deep sea. This is Lonny Lundsten from MBARI.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute – Crab Eating Frozen Gas. This story demonstrates an interesting deep-sea phenomenon: given the right temperature and pressure conditions. Complete Full Transcript, Dialogue, Remarks, Saying, Quotes, Words And Text.