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Frozen methane bubbles, Canada

加拿大冰冻沼气泡泡

They look otherworldly, like flying saucers that dropped into the water and froze, or ancient, ice-encapsulated jellyfish. In fact, these icy circles are frozen methane bubbles – pockets of gas that, when trapped underwater and frozen, form a spectacular landscape.

它们看起来像鬼斧神工的杰作,就像飞碟不小心掉进水里又被冻住了,又像是冰封的古代海蜇。其实,这些冰圈是冰冻的沼气泡泡——当大量气体被困在水中并冰冻起来时,这一地理奇观就显现在世人面前了。

Found in winter in high northern latitude lakes like Lake Abraham in Alberta, Canada, these gas bubbles are created when dead leaves, grass and animals fall into the water, sink and are eaten by bacteria that excrete methane. The gas is released as bubbles that transform into tens of thousands of icy white disks when they come into contact with frozen water, Quora user Mayur Kanaiya explains.

冬季时北半球高纬的湖泊,比如加拿大阿尔伯塔省的亚伯拉罕湖,就会有这样的沼气泡泡景观。湖底的微生物蚕食沉入水底的枯叶、枯草或动物死尸,并释放沼气,由此便形成了沼气泡泡。当这些气体包裹在泡泡里被释放到水中时,它们与冰冻的湖水接触就变成了成千上万的冰碟子。Quora的一位用户马尤尔•卡奈雅这样解释。

It’s a stunning, but potentially dangerous sight. This potent greenhouse gas not only warms the planet, but also is highly flammable. Come spring, when the ice melts, the methane bubbles pop and fizz in a spectacular release – but if anyone happens to light a match nearby, the masses of methane will ignite into a giant explosion.

沼气泡泡的景观固然震撼人心,但其危险性不能忽视。这种强效的温室气体不仅能使全球气温升高,而且具有极高的易燃性。当春天到来,冰雪消融时,这些沼气泡泡会嘶嘶作响,场景很是壮观——但是如果恰巧周围有人在划火柴,大量的沼气会引发一场巨大的爆炸。

Curious travellers can see these gassy hiccups in lakes across Canada’s Banff National Park, or in the Arctic Ocean off Siberia, where researchers have found gargantuan gas bubbles as large as 900m across.

好奇的游客们可以在加拿大班夫国家公园周边的湖泊看到沼气泡泡“打嗝”,研究者们还在西伯利亚附近的北冰洋发现蔓延900米的大量沼气泡泡。

图文来源:中国日报英语点津

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