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Burning Ice
Teacher Contributed

Burn Baby Burn

Student Exploration

Burning Ice and Deep-sea Life

Does ice really burn? Well, yes and no. If it is just frozen H2O, then no. But remember solid water has more volume than the same mass of liquid water, and that increased volume means small molecules can be tucked away inside the open ice crystal latice. Check this out.

As you might guess there is a lot of potential in a substance like this, and that is exactly what the US Geological Survey is investigating.

Life is opportunistic in many ways, and as you might guess humans are not the only organisms familiar with the potential of gas hydrates.

Extension Investigation

Use the below resources to answer the following questions

  1. Why do the gas hydrates start to pop as they warm to room temperature?
  2. Where do gas hydrates occur naturally?
  3. What is the base energy source for life at cold seeps? Explain your answer as fully as you can.
  4. Compare and contrast cold seeps and hydrothermal vents? Be as specific as you can.
  5. If people start mining methane hydrates what is a possible impact on the deep-sea communities which are supported by them? Can you think of any way to lessen these impacts? Explain you answers as fully as you can.

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