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Caught in the act: a crab eating frozen gas

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Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)

This video was recorded during an expedition led by MBARI Senior Scientist Peter Brewer that was exploring methane gas deposits off the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. While surveying the seafloor, the science team observed a deepsea crab interacting with naturally occurring methane which was bubbling from the seafloor. Methane hydrate, a solid ice of methane, formed when the crab attempted to 'eat' the bubbles. This video illustrates an unusual property of hydrocarbon gas behavior under the extreme pressure and cold temperatures found at 1,260 meters below the oceans surface. It also gives us one example of how organisms living on the seafloor might interact with naturally occurring hydrocarbons.

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posted by ansimanteyj