Methane Bubbles Trapped in Frozen Lake: Beautiful Phenomenon or Disaster Waiting to Happen?
Lake Abraham is a world famous man-made lake located in Alberta, Canada. It was created by engineers in 1972 along with the construction of the Bighorn Dam on the North Saskatchewan River. The lake is famous for its incredibly stunning turquoise color which makes it a big attraction for visitors and photographers from all over the world.
But these visitors and photographers don’t rush towards Lake Abraham just for its vibrant color. The thing that makes it unique is the trapped methane gas underneath the lake surface. This trapped methane gas is visible in the frozen clear water in the form of large bubbles. These white-bluish bubbles create a stunning sight which is the main attraction for the visitors and photographers.
As beautiful as it might seem, this lake is dangerous for the environment due to the overflowing of methane, which is a greenhouse gas. The methane in Lake Abraham is produced by the decomposition of the expired organic matter, such as dead plants or animals, which rises up in the form of bubbles. During the winter these bubbles get frozen which creates this unique and breathtaking view.
Scientists have warned us about the negative effects of methane on the environment countless times. Methane is said to be nearly 25 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide. Methane also largely contributes to climate change and global warming on our planet.
The reason for so much methane being produced by the Lake Abraham is because it was a man-made lake at an unnatural location. It was created by flooding the land that had vegetation and plant life on it. That organic matter at the bottom of the lake is still producing methane due to decomposition.
Scientists have blamed the rising global warming temperatures for the high-level production of methane. They have also pointed out that a large amount of methane is still trapped in the permafrost at the bottom of Lake Abraham. This vast release of methane gas into the atmosphere during warmer weather will be catastrophic.
Another alarming thing at the bottom of Lake Abraham is methane hydrate. Methane hydrate is created by trapped molecules of methane gas which are the result of the geological processes occurring inside earth’s crust.
Scientists are afraid that if global warming somehow manages to melt the ice of Lake Abraham in the coming years then it can melt the permafrost as well. This thawing of permafrost will release an immense quantity of methane into the atmosphere which will contribute to climate change in a negative way.
This worrying situation has driven scientists to study the methane effects to the environment deeply. They are also determined to look for possible solutions on how to limit its effects.
So far there is no sign of any decrease in the number of visitors to Lake Abraham despite scientists constantly warning about its dangers. Maybe the people are just trying to enjoy its stunning views while it lasts.