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No. 25: Jan-Feb 1983

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Gas Hydrates And The Bermuda Triangle

Gas hydrates are stable, solid lattices of water molecules, in which the water molecules are hydrogen-bonded into hollow spheres or oblate spheroids in which gas molecules are enclosed. They are not true compounds, but rather clathrates or inclusion compounds. They often form in huge masses in ocean-bottom sediments and, if disturbed by slumping or some other stimulus, can release immense quantities of gas bubbles. These gases rise to the surface, subdivided en route, and reach the surface as a huge upwelling of frothy, low-density fluid.

A ship cannot float in such low-density fluids. If a large plume rose above the sea's surface, aircraft passing through it would lose engine power. Quoting the final paragraph:

"Intermittent natural gas blowouts from hydrate-associated gas accumulations, therefore, might explain some of the many mysterious disappearances of ships and planes -- particularly in areas where deep-sea sediments contain large amounts of gas in the form of hydrate. This may be the circumstance off the southeast coast of the United States, an area noted for numerous disappearances of ships and aircraft."

(McIver, Richard D.; "Role of Naturally Occurring Gas Hydrates in Sediment Transport," American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Bulletin, 66:789, 1982.)

From Science Frontiers #25, JAN-FEB 1983. 1983-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987