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Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, exists in large quantities in methane hydrates in sediments beneath the seafloor. In hydrates, methane molecules are trapped in cages of water molecules, but under some conditions these hydrates can become unstable and release methane into the ocean and atmosphere. A recent study shows that large amounts of methane may have been released from the seafloor during past peak glacial or glacial-interglacial transition periods.