From British Columbia to Northern California, planet Earth’s got a case of the toots. A recent deep ocean mapping survey has learned that a geologically-active strip of seafloor called the Cascadia Subduction Zone is bubbling methane like mad. It could be one of the most active methane seeps on the planet.
“It’s like bottles of champagne all along the seafloor,” said Jesse Ausubel, an organizer for the 2016 National Ocean Exploration Forum, where the gaseous discovery, along with other intriguing finds from recent deep ocean surveys, is being presented this week.
For years, scientists have been aware that methane, an odorless, colorless gas produced naturally during microbial digestion (and more famously, by farting cows) bubbles up from the seafloor where the conditions are right. Recent scientific surveys have discovered hundreds of methane seeps along the Atlantic continental margin, and it’s believed there could be thousands more across the world.