Germs in cahoots: they help accumulate the largest reserves of greenhouse gases on the planet

Germs help accumulate the reserves of greenhouse gases on the planet

It turns out that microbes contribute to the accumulation of the largest reserves of greenhouse gases on our planet. They form so-called "gas hydrates". Climatologists believe that this assumption is well founded and needs expert judgment. If this idea is followed, but the methane frozen under the sea ice can be released. This gas is not as common as carbon dioxide. But it contains carbon and is recognized as a potent greenhouse gas.

Science knows about methane deposits in the Arctic permafrost, but few scientists pay attention to the larger gas deposits that are located under the seabed. Their frozen state was previously not predicted in any way, and today climatologists believe that they represent a serious problem for the future.


Human indifference to it can lead to carbon emissions, which will intensify and accelerate the disintegration of the Earth's geological balance. Natural underground storage can store 20 times more carbon than the entire biomass of the Earth. And under certain conditions, greenhouse gases can be released from these deposits. Methane can remain underground for millions of years, accumulating for eons. Today only two factors - temperature and pressure - can control their formation and destabilization.

Can the situation be mitigated? One unexpected possibility is a fluctuating magnetic field that can destabilize methane deposits. And if this happens, then, according to the worst scenario, a mass extinction will occur on Earth, similar to the one that occurred 250 million years ago, as a result of which 90 percent of living species died.

Scientists believe that they have missed another important factor - microbial life. They are found everywhere and have existed on the planet for at least 3 billion years. They also exist deep under the seabed, in areas where living organisms have no place. If microbes interact with accumulated reserves, then it is possible that they use high-energy methane to thrive.


Studies with marine bacteria have proven that those using methane are able to rapidly reproduce simple proteins or biomolecules. This suggests that microbes may in fact be the gatekeepers of this aspect of climate stability on our planet.