Role Of Microbe-Mineral Interactions In Seafloor Gas Hydrate Accumulations

Rogers, Rudy
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 2
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2008
When Gas hydrate formation rates have two steps: a nucleation induction step and an agglomeration step. Hydrate induction in distilled water is extremely slow because of lack of nucleating particles. Our laboratory found that synthetic anionic surfactants greatly improve both hydrate induction and agglomeration because the surfactant?s hydrophilic head absorbs water molecules and the hydrophobic tail absorbs hydrocarbon gas molecules, creating necessary nucleation sites. Vast hydrate deposits inhabit seafloors. What is the seafloor hydrate nucleating mechanism? We find that nano-particles of smectite clays (bentonite and nontronite) are hydrate-nucleating sites in sea-water-saturated, packed porous media, especially when trace quantities of anionic biosurfactants adsorb on the clay particles. Microbes and their bioproducts proliferate around seafloor gas hydrate accumulations. The seafloor microbe-mineral-hydrate synergy is explored in this paper. Keywords: gas hydrates, biosurfactants, crystal nucleation, smectites
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