Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky


  • Harsh K. Gupta
  • Kalachand Sain
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_151


Clathrates; Methane-hydrates


Gas-hydrates, also called clathrates, are ice-like crystals of hydrocarbons (mainly methane) and water, which are found in shallow sediments of deepwater and permafrost regions, controlled by high-pressure and low-temperature regimes.


The origin of methane can be either biogenic or thermogenic or a mixture of both. The estimated global reserve of methane (2 × 1016 m3) within gas-hydrates is believed to exceed the equivalent amount of gas in total fossil fuels, and is roughly 3,000 times the amount present in the atmosphere. The carbon in gas-hydrates is speculated to be 10,000 gigatons, which is roughly two times the carbon content in global fossil fuels (Milkov, 2004).

Methane is the cleanest fuel of all hydrocarbons and is 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Therefore, a large release of methane from this source may have a significant impact on climate change. Destabilization of gas-hydrates weakens...

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  1. Milkov, A. V., 2004. Global estimates of hydrate-bound gas in marine sediments: how much is really out there? Earth Science Reviews, 66, 183–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Sain, K., and Gupta, H. K., 2008. Gas hydrates: Indian scenario. Journal of the Geological Society of India, 72, 299–311.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Government of India, NDMA BhawanNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.National Geophysical Research InstituteHyderabadIndia