MSU geologist discovers natural methane seepage in an unlikely place
Between 2011 and 2014, a team of scientists discovered 570 methane plumes escaping the sea floor between North Carolina and Cape Cod. Mississippi State geosciences assistant professor Adam Skarke, then a physical scientist on the NOAA OER’s scientist-sailor team aboard the Okeanos Explorer, played a primary role in gathering and disseminating the data gathered on the ship. He was the lead author of “Widespread methane leakage from the sea floor on the U.S. Atlantic margin,” a recently published article in Nature Geoscience, the premier peer-reviewed research journal for earth scientists. The article suggests that the discovery of so many methane seeps is raising new questions about geology, oceanography and sea floor ecosystems. Along with Skarke, researchers for this project included Brown University NOAA Hollings Scholar Mali’o Kodis, USGS Gas Hydrates Project Chief Carolyn Ruppel, USGS research physicist Daniel Brothers and Earth Resources Technology physical scientist Elizabeth Lobecker.