McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University
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Gregory Ryskin's Methane Theory Featured on The History Channel
Gregory Ryskin, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering, is featured on an episode of The History Channel’s “Mega Disasters.” The show discusses Ryskin’s theory that huge combustible clouds produced by methane gas trapped in stagnant bodies of water and suddenly released could have killed off the majority of marine life, land animals, and plants at the end of the Permian era — long before dinosaurs lived and died.
About the show:
Mega Disasters: Methane Explosion
A controversial scientific theory states that gigantic eruptions of methane gas from deep in the ocean have occurred regularly throughout history. Although a global-scale methane eruption today is highly unlikely, there may be stagnant, oxygen-poor basins in the ocean where methane might accumulate. Even a small explosion could cause a catastrophe. Imagine what would happen if such an event occurred in the mid-Pacific. Tsunamis would be generated in continuous waves, striking Hawaii and the entire West Coast. Coastal areas would be flooded for miles inland. Methane/water clouds would auto-ignite and the massive fires could cause widespread destruction. Consequences could be global. Whatever humanity survives would be thrown into a Dark Age.
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