Multiple giant craters have been discovered on the ocean floor in the Barents Sea. Contrary to recent media reports, they are not connected to theories about Bermuda Triangle. They are however connected to huge blowouts of methane gas in the area during the last deglaciation.
Text: Maja Sojtaric
Recent media coverage links our discovery of giant craters in the Barents Sea to blow outs of gas that are rumoured to be behind disappearance of ships in the so called Bermuda Triangle.
“We have discovered many large craters on the seabed in the central Barents Sea. Analyses suggest that blowout of methane gas once the ice retreated after the last Ice Age formed these craters. We have yet to publish these results, so these are preliminary. What I can say is that we are not making any links to the Bermuda Triangle”, says Professor Karin Andreassen at CAGE .
“Craters are gigantic, up to one kilometer wide and 30 meters deep, and give evidence on blowouts of gas from the seabed. Blowouts can be linked to thawing of gas hydrates, which is methane in form of ice, beneath the seabed after the last Ice Age ended. But conditions during the last ice age can not be compared with what we see today”, says Andreassen.
The abstract that has triggered massive media attention around these craters has been submitted to the General Assembly of European Geoscience Union (EGU) and can be read here: High-resolution 3D seismic investigation of giant seaﬂoor craters in the Barents Sea.
Some of the craters were first discovered by geophysicist, including professor Jürgen Mienert who is now director of CAGE, on board German research vessels over 20 years ago. New technology however enables CAGE scientists to map with detail the large extent of the crater area, and other associated features. The work will be submitted to publications in the spring 2016.
Until then the curious can find following publications interesting:
Solheim A. and Elverhøi A. Gas-related sea floor craters in the Barents Sea, Geo -Marine Letters (1993) 13: 235-243
Lammers S.,Suess E., Hovland M. A large methane plume east of Bear Island (Barents Sea): implications for the marine methane cycle. Geol Rundsch (1995) 84: 59-66