Gas seeps occurring on tidal flats on the northern shore of the inner Firth of Forth are described. The principal gas is methane, which is considered to come from the coal-bearing rocks of the Lower Limestone Series (Carboniferous); either naturally or from abandoned coal workings. Seep activity has been known at the site for several years, and it is suggested that the presence of white filamentous bacteria (Beggiatoa sp.) and a carbonate precipitate are indicative of long-term seepage. Comparative studies at the seep and at a control site revealed that the seeps have only a marginal effect on the intertidal fauna. Migration of gas through the thin (<2 m) surficial sediments appears to be controlled by the topography of a gravel layer, seeps preferentially occurring where the top of the gravel is closest to the surface. The total gas emission from 70 to 100 individual seepage vents is estimated at ˜ 1 tonne CH4 yr-1, the majority of which is emitted direct to the atmosphere. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Firth of Forth
- Gas seepage