20 June 2016

Observing bubbles from underwater gas seeps (video)

Posted by Lauren Lipuma

by Lauren Lipuma

Natural oil and gas seeps exist on the ocean floor all over the world. Although humans have known about and exploited these natural resources for thousands of years, scientists know little about how oil and gas droplets disperse in deep water and how they affect underwater ecosystems. During a July 2014 research cruise in the Gulf of Mexico, researchers examined the fate of bubbles rising from two natural gas seeps close to the site of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident. They used high-speed cameras mounted on a remotely operated vehicle to observe the bubbles in real time and determine how high they rose in the water column and how fast they dissolved. Here, Binbin Wang, a postdoctoral researcher at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, describes what the research team learned about bubbles emanating from natural gas seeps. Wang and his colleagues detailed their findings in a recent paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. Read more about their research in this Eos story.