The benchtop ocean

A simulation of the temperatures and pressures felt on the ocean floor has been demonstrated by researchers from Brookhaven National Laboratory. The experiment is providing data that could help us "mine" the natural gas locked in the depths of the oceans. "The amount of natural gas is tied up in methane hydrates beneath the seafloor and in permafrost on Earth is several orders of magnitude higher than all other known conventional sources of natural gas," explains BNL's Devinder Mahajan, "enough to meet our energy needs for several decades." Extracting this resource poses several challenges but Mahajan and colleague Michael Eaton hope their simulation will provide new information on how that might be achieved.