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Where Did the 200,000 Tons of Methane Go Released in Gulf?

Updated on April 12, 2015

Mother Earth Heals Itself

Methane Gas: A Natural Product
Methane Gas: A Natural Product
What causes methane gas?  The chart above from the US Department of Energy Technology Laboratory illustrate the sources of man-made and natural occurrences of methane.
What causes methane gas? The chart above from the US Department of Energy Technology Laboratory illustrate the sources of man-made and natural occurrences of methane.

Mother Nature Mopped Up[ After Spill

Bacteria Swiftly Devoured Methane

The research study (Texas A&M) of the 200,000 tons of methane gas spewed into the Gulf of Mexico by the Deep-water Horizon Gusher is gone.

The huge plume of methane burped up from deep inside of the earth was gone!

John Kessler oceanographer for Texas A&M reports in Science and reported in today's’ (01/07/2011) Wall Street Journal that a huge swarm of methane gas-gobbling bacteria swelled to consume nearly all of the 200,000 tons of methane dumped into the gulf.

The federally funded field study offers peer-reviewed evidence that naturally occurring microbes in the Gulf of Mexico devoured significant amounts of the toxic chemicals in oil and methane gas that came from the blowout. This occurred, notwithstanding the belief that researchers had thought the pollution would persist in the region’s water chemistry for years.

Samples were taken from over 200 different locations over 38,000 square miles of the Gulf between August and October 2010.

Oil and Gas Consumed

The methane gas is only one element of the spill. The crude oil settled on the seafloor as sludge within one mile from the damaged wellhead, or floated to the surface. The federal government reported there is no significant oil from the spill left offshore and no evidence of chemical dispersants in the water.

The report stirred disbelief among several microbiologist. University of Georgia microbiologist, Samantha Joye said, “It would take a superman microbe to do what they are claiming.” Robert Haddad, head of the damage-assessment effort at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said, “The data they’ve collected on the methane plume is consistent with what we have seen.”

Global Warming Danger Decreased

Most of the methane gas never reached the surface per early test by researcher at Texas A&M. Kessler said he was “Shocked, …we thought the methane would be around for years.” The bacteria appeared to remove 100 million tons of oxygen, as noted the Wall Street Journal article.

Antje Boetius, a geo-microbiologist expert from the Max Planck institute for Marine Biology in Bremen, Germany said, “This is very compelling evidence that the methane had been consumed.

This has implications of what some people fear: Global Warming. The ability of the ocean microbes to absorb such large releases of methane gas so rapidly, changes what scientists had feared if global warming occurs and massive amount of frozen methane crystals from the bottoms of the ocean were released.

Ocean Can Compensate – Heals Itself

Methane is a greenhouse gas 24 times more potent than carbon dioxide. “It now appears that even with massive releases of methane, the ocean can compensate,” says microbiologist Terry Hazen at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Related Topics of Interest:


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    • dallas93444 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dallas W Thompson 

      7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      Planet earth has been here billions of years. It is an evolving process. About 98% of living things have become extinct. Our "earth" has always "healed" itself... The scars are everywhere...

      Thanks for your comments!

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 

      7 years ago from Tucson, Az

      I, too, pray our Mother continues to heal herself but I will also wait for more confirmation!

      fantastically written so even this poor mind could understand! thank you!!

    • dallas93444 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dallas W Thompson 

      8 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      One must "trust, but confirm!"

      Thanks for your comments!

    • dallas93444 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dallas W Thompson 

      8 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      Perhaps your mind has been "expanded!"

      I am sure we can push "Mother Earth" beyond its limits to heal itself. We must husband our resources and treat our environment as we would our own backyards...

    • dallas93444 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dallas W Thompson 

      8 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Darlene Sabella,

      Darlene, one must "trust, but confirm." I did quote from two independent sources, however one must still wait for further "proof" and confirmations... It is a process. In the meantime, in the absence of any "opposition," I tend to agree.

      My basis of this position is I am aware of applications of bio products that have broken down all hazardous products... including radioactive materials...

      Therefor it is within the realm of a possibility.

    • katiem2 profile image

      Katie McMurray 

      8 years ago from Westerville

      Very honest question and well addressed as best one can with a level head on their shoulders and yet a lot of sweeping the truth under the rug. You're so right where did all that methane go indeed! Well done! :) Katie

    • ExpandYourMind profile image


      8 years ago from Midwest USA

      Mother Earth is an amazing creation. Let's pray doesn't get tired of cleaning up our messes and burp us up. Good writing!

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      8 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Wonder infromation and sounds like good news, for all these organization and renouned folks in the industry. I was very impressed with your charts and your hub, however do you really believe all of this, are the telling the truth. Forgive me if I should doubt anything that might come from our government but trust is a hard thing to come by these days. I sure hope this is true, the Earth really needs a break...don't ya think? rate this up useful, love & peace darski

    • dallas93444 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dallas W Thompson 

      8 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      Perhaps people living on the East Coast would think there is a "Global Cooling!"

      There is a phenomenon is physics law that states: When something is compressed, it is heated; when it expands it cools.

      The earth is subject to extreme compressional forces from gravity from several sources: sun, moon and planets... This cause the earth to heat. When the earth moves in its orbit decreasing these gravitational forces, it expands and cools.

      There is empirical evidence from millions of years back from geology, ice cores, trees and etc that correlates the earth's climate heating-cooling cycle with its orbit in space.,..

      Our present heat cycle will begin to cool around 2020...

    • dallas93444 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dallas W Thompson 

      8 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      The "hot air" in Washington DC does indeed pollute... our good sense of fair equitable justice, of the freedoms of choice and our individual destinies...

    • dallas93444 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dallas W Thompson 

      8 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      As a science instructor I was part of a state group of science instructors invited to Lawrence Livermore. They had indicated they had on the shelf "bugs" (microbes) tailored to fight any form of pollution - including radiation. Life is about balance. Of course we must husband our resources and use them wisely...

    • dallas93444 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dallas W Thompson 

      8 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      MyMastiffPuppies ,

      Thanks! Life is a process of learning and hopefully making a meaning positive difference...

    • bgamall profile image

      Gary Anderson 

      8 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      It is interesting that the oceans are somewhat self correcting. However, I live at elevation on the east side of the Sierra Nevada, and so low temps in the summer are hardly ever as cold as normal. And this includes non populated areas of the region, so there is global warming. But the catastrophic results may not happen as the oceans are a mitigating factor. Nice information.

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 

      8 years ago from USA

      Howdy dallas - I was informed that all of that gas went to Washington, D.C., for those folks had pretty much used up most of what they already possessed in their spouting off and heating up the atmosphere.

      Gus :-)))

    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      8 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      I really do hope the ocean can compensate for a lot of that mess. I often had wondered at such a huge accident/problem. I wondered how it could be dealt with or helped. Thank you for this hub, very interesting and good to share with people.

    • MyMastiffPuppies profile image


      8 years ago

      Great research and info to help us understand it. Voted up, useful and awesome!

    • dallas93444 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dallas W Thompson 

      8 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      Perhaps it is like us. If we are overwhelmed by "poison," we get sick. Sometimes die... The earth is a dynamic entity...

    • World-Traveler profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Very interesting. I just wonder how much longer the earch will survive. Especially when more and more countries are polluting more, especially unnoticed dumping into the oceans to save money by not recycling waste properly.

      In Thailand, some companies and recyclers just load up their un recycled petroleum wastes, drive off to an isolated area, and dump.

      Voted up for useful, awesome and beautiful as well.


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