Noble gases and radiocarbon in natural gas hydrates

Gisela Winckler, Werner Aeschbach-Hertig, Johannes Holocher, Rolf Kipfer, Ingeborg Levin, Christian Poss, Gregor Rehder, Erwin Suess, Peter Schlosser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


In samples of pure natural gas hydrates from Hydrate Ridge, Cascadia Margin, virtually no helium and neon components are present providing evidence that the light noble gases are not incorporated into the structure of natural methane hydrates. In contrast, the hydrates contain significant amounts of argon, krypton and xenon. These gases show a distinct fractionation pattern, with the heavier ones preferentially incorporated into the gas hydrate structure. The hydrate methane is devoid of 14C indicating that there is no contribution of a recent (14C-active) organic carbon reservoir to the hydrate carbon pool. On the basis of the δ13C and δ2H signature, it appears that microbial CO2-reduction is the dominant CH4 production pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-1-63-4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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