Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Undersea gas leaks off Israel’s coast discovered

Date:
November 12, 2012
Source:
University of Haifa
Summary:
Most of the efforts in Israel's energy field are being directed at gas buried deep under the Mediterranean seabed. Now a new geophysical study, the first of its kind in Israel, has uncovered a system of active gas springs in the Haifa Bay seabed, at relatively shallow depths, only a few dozen meters below the surface. The study describes the entire system, from its sources under the sea floor through the natural springs emerging from the seabed.

The terms "gas" and "sea" for many will invoke associations of reserves, business, and a lot of money. Whatever the association, most of the efforts in Israel's energy field are being directed at gas buried deep under the Mediterranean seabed. Now a new geophysical study, the first of its kind in Israel, has uncovered a system of active gas springs in the Haifa Bay seabed, at relatively shallow depths, only a few dozen meters below the surface.

The study, published in the journal Continental Shelf Research, describes the entire system, from its sources under the sea floor through the natural springs emerging from the seabed. "This is a natural laboratory for researching gas emissions from the sea floor -- natural springs and less natural ones. We are only beginning to understand their contribution to climate and ecological change," said Dr. Uri Schattner of the Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences at the University of Haifa, who led the research.

The first evidence of gas springs emerged from examining a map of the sea floor off Israel's northern coast. A joint effort between the University of Haifa and the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute revealed no less than 700 spots in the seabed that looked like possible gas springs. The researchers' suspicions intensified when seismic data identified pockets of gas beneath the seabed.

Based on this evidence, researchers went out to sea four times to collect more data from the seabed and from under the sea floor. "Geophysical information enables us to research beneath the sea floor and map out the entire system, from the gas sources to their penetration of the sea waters," said Dr. Schattner.

However, what they found exceeded all expectations. A gas deposit of 72 square kilometers was found on the continental shelf, at depths of between 37 meters to 112 meters. While many of the gases remain in the reserve, some still manage to escape into the sea. "We don't know yet what kind of gas we're talking about, but its role in undermining the stability of the seabed is clear," said Dr. Michael Lazar, a member of the research team. "This means that any discussion of marine infrastructure development must seriously relate to this shallow gas stratum."

Israel's Energy and Water Ministry is expending a great deal of effort on formulating National Master Plan 37H, which, among other things, deals with the transportation of gas produced from deep-sea drilling to pressure-reducing facilities. These will be located on the continental shelf, in the sea, from where the gas will be transported to the coast. "Now we are beginning to understand that there is no substitute for thoroughly researching the stability of the sea floor to prevent an infrastructure failure, since any leak could cause an ecological disaster," said Dr. Schattner.

During the coming months, the researchers will be making another expedition to the springs, this time with a team of biologists and geologists. This unique combination of experts from the Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences will be able to provide a better understanding of the type of gas involved and its influence on marine life near the sea floor.

"Every research trip challenges and fascinates us anew," said Dr. Schattner. "This time we'll be going out with a few vessels, each of which is dedicated to different types of surveying and sampling."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Haifa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Uri Schattner, Michael Lazar, Dana Harari, Nicolas Waldmann. Active gas migration systems offshore northern Israel, first evidence from seafloor and subsurface data. Continental Shelf Research, 2012; 48: 167 DOI: 10.1016/j.csr.2012.08.003

Cite This Page:

University of Haifa. "Undersea gas leaks off Israel’s coast discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121112095949.htm>.
University of Haifa. (2012, November 12). Undersea gas leaks off Israel’s coast discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121112095949.htm
University of Haifa. "Undersea gas leaks off Israel’s coast discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121112095949.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Over 53 tons of rotting fish have been removed from Lake Cajititlan in western Jalisco state. Authorities say that the thousands of fish did not die of natural causes. (Sep. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Iceland Volcano Spewing Smoke

Raw: Iceland Volcano Spewing Smoke

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — The alert warning for the area surrounding Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano was kept at orange on Tuesday, indicating increased unrest with greater potential for an eruption. Smoke is spewing from the volcano, and lava is spouting nearby. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Halliburton's agreement to pay more than $1 billion to settle numerous claims involving the 2010 BP oil spill could be a way to diminish years of costly litigation. A federal judge still has to approve the settlement. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins