The world's offshore continental margins contain vast reserves of gas hydrate, a frozen form of natural gas that is embedded in cold, near-seafloor strata. Published estimates suggest that the energy represented by gas hydrate may exceed the energy available from conventional fossil fuel by a factor of 2 or more. Understanding marine hydrate systems has become critical for long-term worldwide energy planning. Groups in several nations are attempting to evaluate the resource and to define seafloor stability problems across hydrate accumulations.

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