Gas hydrate in nature

Fact Sheet 2017-3080



Gas hydrate is a naturally occurring, ice-like substance that forms when water and gas combine under high pressure and at moderate temperatures. Methane is the most common gas present in gas hydrate, although other gases may also be included in hydrate structures, particularly in areas close to conventional oil and gas reservoirs. Gas hydrate is widespread in ocean-bottom sediments at water depths greater than 300–500 meters (m; 984–1,640 feet [ft]) and is also present in areas with permanently frozen ground (permafrost). Several countries are evaluating gas hydrate as a possible energy resource in deepwater or permafrost settings. Gas hydrate is also under investigation to determine how environmental change may affect these deposits.

Suggested Citation

Ruppel, C.D., 2018, Gas hydrate in nature: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017–3080, 4 p.,

ISSN: 2327-6932 (online)

ISSN: 2327-6916 (print)

Table of Contents

  • Marine Gas Hydrate
  • Permafrost-Associated Gas Hydrate
  • Prospecting for Gas Hydrate
  • Gas Hydrate and Energy Resources
  • Gas Hydrate and the Environment
  • Gas Hydrate and Sea-Floor Failure
  • Future Studies
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Gas hydrate in nature
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 2017-3080
DOI 10.3133/fs20173080
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 4 p.
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details