Fri, 7 Nov 97 08:07:55 CDT
Reality is sometimes stranger than fiction. There is a report on the Minerals
Management service web site of tube worms having been found living on methane
ice (gas hydrates) on the ocean bottom. For those unfamiliar with tube worms
they are chemosynthetic organisms that derive their energy from methane. They
live along the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico along faults which have
hydrocarbons leaking from them. Tube worms are not new. Neither is
gas hydrates. Hydrates form on and under the sediments. They consist of
a molecule of methane surrounded by a cage of water ice. If brought to the
surface hydrate will snap,crackle and pop as the ice melts and the methane
escapes. Hydrate will also burn. It is wierd to see ice burning.
Anyway the worms live on the ice. It is apparently the first
organism to live off of an ice environment.
The site is:
But I have had trouble this morning accessing this page. The report was
stapled to our wall at the coffee bar this morning.