Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Clathrate Hydrate

  • William M. Irvine
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_302-3


Clathrate hydrates are ice-like solids in which a “host” hydrogen-bonded H2O lattice entraps a nonpolar “guest” gas molecule such as CH4 or CO2. It has been speculated that clathrate hydrates are important components of many outer solar system bodies including comets, the outer planets, and their icy moons. Methane clathrate hydrates are also widely distributed in terrestrial seafloor sediments where the ambient temperature and pressure allows their existence. It is thought that their breakdown during periods of increasing temperature releases methane, a strong greenhouse gas, which may contribute significantly to global warming.

See Also


Ambient Temperature Global Warming Bioorganic Chemistry Solar System System Body 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AstronomyUniversity of Massachusetts, Lederle Graduate Research Tower B 619EAmherstUSA