Daily Archives: 21 October 2011

Methane On The Loose

With the melting of the permafrost up here, the captured methane is now being released in rather large doses.
The recent fresh snow has made a mess of the ice on The Pond, but it allows one to see where the methane is being released. Every little dark circle on the ice has a methane pocket underneath. For holiday events, usually egged on by scotch, we’ve been known to venture out onto The Pond armed with an ice chisel and propane torch. The ice is weakened by the methane gas, so a few strikes with the chisel gives an escape route for the captured bubble of methane, and the torch can produce a rather tall pillar of flame. I think our record is around 10-12 feet. The University grad students that have been out there studying the issue have outdone our work with flaming towers of easily 20 feet.
Education is worth something.

It’s actually an incredibly cool study, although the end result of the melting permafrost has caused some difficulties with buildings. During the peak summer months The Pond is releasing almost 18,000 liters per day, with a yearly average of 8 – 10,000. That’s a few liters.

I had pictures of our “lighting of the pond”, but I seem to have misplaced them. The video, which also involves a rocket, I am not going to share.