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Moscow geologists studied the effect of gas hydrates on the stability of permafrost

Areas of permafrost contain large volumes of gas hydrates, i.e. crystalline compounds of water and natural gas. The scientists from Lomonosov Moscow State University and Skoltech have researched for the first time how the presence of the gas hydrates influences the resistance of soil to shear. They also suggested using such observations to search for gas hydrate deposits. The corresponding article is published in the journal Cold Regions Science and Technology.
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The very presence of gas hydrates in the permafrost soil greatly changes its mechanical properties, and their influence remains poorly studied. Skoltech scientists together with their colleagues from Faculty of Geology of Moscow State University stimulated the formation of gas hydrates in the sand and found that the compounds of water and methane affect the adhesion between particles in sand, changing its resistance to shear.

The measurements showed that the limit of resistance to shear was the greater the higher the saturation of the sample with gas hydrates, but it decreased as they disintegrated. The results of the study can be used to search for and monitor gas hydrate deposits in permafrost, the scientists believe.

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