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Images from the Methane Seep

A sediment core sample reveals black marks where sulfide is present, an indication of a methane seep environment.

A sediment core sample reveals black marks where sulfide is present, an indication of a methane seep environment.

Credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography

When exposed to acid, carbon dioxide bubbles from these pieces of carbonate rock. Microbes are known to produce carbonate in methane environments.

When exposed to acid, carbon dioxide bubbles from these pieces of carbonate rock. Microbes are known to produce carbonate in methane environments.

Credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Siboglinids (left), which lack a mouth and digestive system, live inside tubes (right) in methane or sulfide-rich environments.

Siboglinids (left), which lack a mouth and digestive system, live inside tubes (right) in methane or sulfide-rich environments.

Credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Graduate students from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography discovered a methane seep 20 miles off San Diego's coast.  The proximity to land, a three-hour boat ride, creates a rare opportunity for scientists to study this geologic feature 3,200 feet under the ocean surface.

Graduate students from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography discovered a methane seep 20 miles off San Diego's coast. The proximity to land, a three-hour boat ride, creates a rare opportunity for scientists to study this geologic feature 3,200 feet under the ocean surface.