Joint research team finds ‘burning ice’ off Taiwan

HAPPY ACCIDENT: The discovery was made when the team sent a sampler to a seamount 1.2km under the surface of the ocean, the science ministry said

Taipei Times
Date: Jun 24, 2018
By: Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

A team of Taiwanese and French researchers has extracted frozen methane hydrates

National Central University professor Hsu Shu-kung holds a chunk of burning methane ice found under the ocean bed off Taiwan’s southwest coast on Thursday.  Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Science and Technology

known as “combustible ice” from under the seabed off Taiwan’s southwestern coast, the Ministry of Science and Technology said on Friday, hailing the achievement as a milestone for the nation’s energy exploration.

The team made the extraction on Thursday at 3:52am in waters near 22° north latitude and 120° east longitude on board the French research vessel Marion Dufresne, the ministry said.

The team used a core sampler to reach a seamount 1.2km below the ocean’s surface and the researchers found that the sampler had scooped up a piece of methane ice, it said.

The discovery was unexpected, as the team originally aimed to evaluate seabed stability in the area, said National Central University (NCU) Department of Earth Sciences professor Lin Jing-yi (林靜怡), who led the project.

The project is part of the second phase of the ministry’s National Energy Program, Lin said, adding that she did not join the voyage herself.

The combustible ice would be kept in Taiwan for further study, in accordance with an agreement with French scientists, Lin said.    [FULL  STORY]

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