The Gorgeous Abraham Lake and Its Vast Methane Resources

The Abraham Lake is an artificial lake that can be found in Alberta, Canada, and it was created in 1972 with the construction of the Bighorn Dam. Apart from its beautiful blue waters, this astonishing lake also contains a much more deadly and potentially explosive element – methane gas.

Abraham Lake (6)

The massive accumulation of methane gas within the Abraham Lake is owed mostly to the fact that it was built by flooding dry land, which means that the already existing vegetation and soil started to decompose over time, releasing methane gas during the process. When the lake is frozen, the gas becomes trapped under the water’s surface in the form of white bubbles that look absolutely unique and stunning. When the ice cracks during the warmer months, the gas escapes and vanishes into the atmosphere, a process that takes place in many other bodies of water on the planet. The thing is, methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas that can be much more damaging to our atmosphere compared to carbon dioxide. Consequently, many scientists have expressed their concern about these “leaks” of methane into our atmosphere, especially since the permafrost in the cold seas has recently started to melt, releasing massive amounts of methane, around eight million tons a year to be precise, and that’s only from the East Siberia Sea.

The threat of global warming is a very serious one indeed, but there is yet hope for us still, as a number of companies already came up with solutions that enable them to successfully harvest methane from these bodies of water before it can escape to the surface. Japan became the first country to extract natural frozen gas from deposits buried within the ocean floor, while Rwanda is currently following up on Japan’s example by using a barge platform in order to extract, separate and purify the gas.

In the end, it all comes down to humankind’s ability to harvest and utilize this newfound energy source, but given the recent progresses we mentioned above, we can be quite confident that we will manage to tame this highly explosive beast that lurks beneath our lakes and oceans. In any case, Abraham Lake is still one of the most beautiful man-made lakes in the world, and while its mesmerizing methane bubbles are still trapped within its icy shell, it surely is worth a personal visit.

[pictures source]

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