CALGARY, A.B. – University researchers say seismic lines used in energy exploration increase emissions of methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas.
In a paper released today, Greg McDermid of the University of Calgary says seismic lines release enough methane to increase estimates of emissions caused by land use by at least seven percent.
McDermid says methane is released when machinery cutting such lines through peatlands compacts the soil and removes vegetation.
That raises the water table, causing an increase in methane _ a greenhouse gas at least 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
McDermid says his research also found far more seismic lines than previously thought.
Using high-resolution satellite photos, he and his colleagues discovered at least 345,000 kilometres of the lines and trails over Alberta peatlands _ almost twice as many as in other public datasets.