Mud volcano discovered in the Barents Sea

Credit: Norman Einstein @ Wikipedia

An expedition co-leader said the team found thousands of methane seeps. The ocean floor is still very much unexplored territory.
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Scientists from UiT, the Arctic University of Norway, in partnership with REV Ocean, have discovered the second ever mud volcano found within Norwegian waters.

This unusual geological phenomenon was discovered onboard the research vessel Kronprins Haakon with the piloted submersible vehicle ROV Aurora in the Southwestern Barents Sea at the outer part of Bjørnøyrenna (Outer Bear Island Trough).

It lies at approximately 70 nautical miles south of Bear Island and at 400m depth.

“Seeing an underwater mud eruption in real time reminded me how “alive” our planet is,” says Professor Giuliana Panieri, expedition leader and Principal Investigator of the AKMA project.

The volcano has been named The Borealis Mud Volcano.

Climate gas

The newly discovered volcano rests inside a crater which is approximately 300m wide and 25m deep and is most likely the result of a catastrophic, natural blow out that abruptly released massive methane just after the last glaciation period, 18,000 years ago.

Currently, the Borealis Mud Volcano, which is ca 7 meters in diameter and 2.5 meters high, continuously emits fluids rich in methane. Methane is a highly potent climate gas when it reaches the atmosphere. [Talkshop comment – really? Is ‘greenhouse gas’ going out of fashion?]

This discovery will help scientists understand the potential impact of localized but persistent in-time phenomena on the global methane budget and its impacts on the ecosystems.

Professor Panieri said: “We do not exclude the possibility of discovering other mud volcanoes in the Barents Sea. It is only thanks to collaborative team teamwork and advanced technology that these results can be achieved. ”

Hidden treasures

Only one other mud volcano in existence in Norwegian waters, the Håkon Mosby Mud Volcano, that was discovered in 1995. The Håkon Mosby Mud Volcano lies at 1250m deep on the seafloor south of Svalbard at 72°N.

These peculiar volcanos are direct windows into the Earth’s interior since they erupt predominantly water and fine sediments from depths of several hundred meters to few kilometres providing a window into past environments.

“Understanding the evolution and the fluids’ composition help us comprehend their potential impact on the global methane budget and can inform about what happens on other planets,” Panieri says.

Full article here.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

May 22, 2023 at 11:57AM

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