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Major earthquakes can topple buildings, cause landslides and spawn tsunamis. Now scientists say they can do something else: set off the release of methane gas from the seabed.
In a study published online Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience, European researchers report that an underwater quake off Pakistan nearly 70 years ago likely fractured seafloor sediments and created pathways for methane, a potent greenhouse gas, to bubble up from below. The researchers say the phenomenon may be widespread enough that climate scientists should take it into account when estimating the amounts of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere.
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