Vince Clementi was named a 2020 recipient of Evolving Earth Foundation Graduate Research Grant to aid his research on the role methane clathrates have played in abrupt climate change. The Evolving Earth Foundation provides grants of $3,000 to graduate students who are conducting research on topics that increase our understanding and awareness of the geologic and biologic processes that shape our planet.
Globally, methane clathrates store two to three times as much carbon as the atmosphere at relatively shallow depths in the sediment on continental margins, which makes them particularly susceptible to destabilization from ocean warming associated with climate change. Destabilization of clathrates and the release of methane has been invoked as a component of abrupt climate change in Earth’s history. The “Clathrate Gun Hypothesis” is, however, controversial and demands further evaluation. This grant will fund laboratory analyses to study the geochemistry of sediments, microfossils, and carbonate concretions in new sediment cores that he helped recover from the Chile Margin (JR100) in Summer 2019.