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It must have been a catastrophic event," said lead author Karin Andreassen, a professor at the Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate at the Arctic University of Norway.

Methane continues to seep out into the water to this day, Andreassen said, through more than 600 "gas flares" that remain near the craters.

(Todd Paris / UAF)Research associate professor Katey Walter Anthony inspects flaming methane gas seeping from a hole in the ice on the surface of a pond on the UAF campus.

"Our finding is quite staggering," said Ian Bruce, director of the Suzuki Foundation's science and policy department. C.'s methane pollution problem, and certainly Canada's, is much bigger than previously estimated by government and industry." The peer-reviewed findings, drawn from measures at over 1,600 well pads in the Montney shale gas formation in northeastern B.

C., estimate that operations in the region leak and intentionally release more than 111,800 tonnes of methane annually.

^ Ranges reflect varying carbon content (weights approximate).

Sample standard errors will increase as radiometric samples size decreases (see Table 2).

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