The Cascadia Margin subduction zone is scattered with methane seeps (where methane gas bubbles out from the seafloor) and methane hydrate deposits (where methane is suspended in an ice crystal). This methane powers a unique ecosystem. Some forms of bacteria here make food using chemosynthesis, a process that is comparable to photosynthesis but that uses methane instead of sunlight. In this album, you will encounter some of the organisms that depend on methane and other animals that play a part in the ecosystem.
The main objectives of this expedition are to explore for methane seeps and hydrate sites and to characterize their associated ecosystems along the U. S. Cascadia Margin. Gas hydrates and gas-filled pockets present in sedimentary deposits provide large reservoirs for methane in the Earth’s crust, and the importance of methane as a potent greenhouse gas has been recognized in recent years.