Table of Contents
Journal of Geological Research
Volume 2017, Article ID 5952916, 8 pages
Research Article

Methane at the NW of Weddell Sea, Antarctica

1Instituto Antártico Argentino, 25 de Mayo 1143, San Martín, Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina
2Dirección Nacional del Antártico, Balcarce 290, 2° Piso, C1064ABR Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina
3Universidad del Salvador, Av. Callao y Córdoba, C1023AAB Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina

Correspondence should be addressed to R. A. del Valle; moc.liamtoh@liof_sgnik

Received 16 August 2016; Revised 14 November 2016; Accepted 1 December 2016; Published 13 February 2017

Academic Editor: Umberta Tinivella

Copyright © 2017 R. A. del Valle et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The presence of gaseous hydrocarbons (from methane to n-pentane) in the seabed sediments and the bubbling of methane may suggest the presence of gas accumulations in the substrate of the NW Weddell Sea, Antarctica. The release of methane from the frozen ocean substrate adjacent to Seymour Island would be linked to climate instability during Late Cenozoic, when vast areas of the Antarctic continental shelf were flooded during the marine transgression that occurred . 18,000 years ago, after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). As the ice melted, the sea again occupied the regions which it had abandoned. As the transgression was relatively rapid, the sub-air relief was not destroyed but was submerged and the ground had frozen (permafrost) along with it. Thus, the heat flow from the sea to the marine substrate, now flooded, would have destabilized frozen gas accumulations, which were originally formed into terrestrial permafrost during the LGM, similarly to what would have happened in the Arctic.