Methane Gas and LakeMats
Walk Your Bubbles Away
When you install your LakeMat® or MuckMat®, the lake weeds beneath your Mat die off, creating dead plant matter which will be digested by microorganisms, which creates methane which will get trapped under your Mat causing “bubbles.” These bubbles can lift an area of your Mat off the bottom up to the surface.
Even if you had no weeds, there’s a lot going on under the soil. Deep within the sediment (muck) there are microorganisms that don’t need oxygen, digesting organic materials, also creating methane.
The softer the soil, the more methane will be produced. Warmer temperatures allow more activity from the microorganisms, which creates more methane. So…
A firm lake bottom, with few weeds and cool temperatures produces very little methane.
A soft lake bottom, with lots of weeds and warm temps produces a lot of methane!
Even though we use gas-permeable fabric and have gas-release ports, methane “bubbles” will likely form somewhere under your Mat, especially in mucky areas.
The solution is very simple: walk on your Mat. As you walk, the bubble will move to a gas-release port and “sploosh” out to the surface. I find it fun and oddly relaxing to do this; sort of like popping the bubbles in plastic packaging wrap. “Sploosh…sploosh…sploosh,” it’s like meditation walking, (google Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Peace Is Every Step”).
Note, these methane bubbles you “sploosh” out and rise to the surface are very flammable. There are some great YouTube videos of people lighting methane released from frozen lakes. (If you have teenage sons or grandsons, don’t let them read this, or they’ll be out on your Mat with a lighter, hoping to make their own cool video).
The more traffic on your Mat the better. If you’re on it every day, you won’t have bubbles. If you’re not at the cottage for three weeks, show up and find bubbles in your Mat, don’t freak out, simply “walk your bubbles away.”
After the first couple weeks you’ll notice less methane production, but it never stops completely. You might still need to “sploosh” bubbles out from time to time.
Fun Methane Facts:
It’s estimated the amount of methane trapped just in the lakes in the permafrost region in Alaska and Canada is 10 times more than all the methane currently in the atmosphere!
Methane is “natural gas,” the stuff you heat your home with.
It’s estimated that 16% of all methane in the atmosphere comes from cow “burps.”
Methane trapped under the oceans contains twice the energy of all the worlds fossil fuels combined.
The largest mass extinction was caused by massive amounts of methane released from the oceans 250 million years ago.
Termites produce more methane than landfills and coal mining.
About 25% of all methane on the planet is created in lakes and marshes.
Burning one molecule of methane releases one molecule of carbon dioxide and two molecules of water.
Methane helps define “gastric:” For example: in college, my friend Kevin burned himself rather badly while attempting to ignite his own personal methane emissions. He never tried that “gastric” again…