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The Gaerwen Gas

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Wales is a wonderful land of legends, myths, tales, some of them a little tall, but never the less a great place to visit and carry out some research. Recently I had heard of some strange going’s on at a ruined 15th Century Church in Anglesey.

There had been numerous sightings of strange white balls of light seen travelling amongst the overgrowth and standing graves. The chuch is currently under reconstruction for about the next ten weeks and a couple of the lads from the construction team claim to have seen these balls of light on more than one occasion. Described simply as a whispy ball of light that moves around slowly and seen to grow smaller and dissipate. Of course such sightings had immediately been attributed to the paranormal, after all, the sightings had taken place in a graveyard.

On visiting the location I quickly discovered that the church is almost completely surrounded by marshlands. A closer inspection of the area revealed rotting plants baking in the afternoon sun and a slight sent of methane. It would be no surprise to me if under such conditions that Marsh Gases could manifest themselves as Ignis Fatuus which it latin for Fire Foolish; and also known as will-o-wisp, jack-o-lantern, friar’s lantern and hinkypunk. It is often described as a ghostly ball of light sometimes seen at night or twilight over bogs, swamps and marshes.

It resembles a flickering lamp and is sometimes said to recede if approached. Much folklore surrounds the phenomenon. I was more than happy to give my conclusion over to the construction team, which, I have to admit, looked releaved. I believe they will be able to continue their work at the church without the worry of ghostly manifistations.

The location is surrounded by aprroximately 5 miles of marshland with one dirt road in and out. As you gaze across the marshes you can spot the odd ruined building in the distance. It seemes on this occasion a rational explanation had been found... Ignis Fatuus.

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Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula CH4. It is the simplest alkane, and the principal component of natural gas. Methane's bond angles are 109.5 degrees. Burning methane in the presence of oxygen produces carbon dioxide and water. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel. However, because it is a gas at normal temperature and pressure, methane is difficult to transport from its source. In its natural gas form, it is generally transported in bulk by pipeline or LNG carriers; few countries transport it by truck.

Methane was discovered and isolated by Alessandro Volta between 1776 and 1778 when studying marsh gas from Lake Maggiore.

Methane is a relatively potent greenhouse gas. Compared with carbon dioxide, it has a high global warming potential of 72 (calculated over a period of 20 years) or 25 (for a time period of 100 years).[2] Methane in the atmosphere is eventually oxidized, producing carbon dioxide and water. As a result, methane in the atmosphere has a half life of seven years[citation needed].

The abundance of methane in the Earth's atmosphere in 1998 was 1745 parts per billion (ppb), up from 700 ppb in 1750. By 2008, however, global methane levels, which had stayed mostly flat since 1998, had risen to 1,800 ppb[3]. By 2010, methane levels, at least in the arctic, were measured at 1850 ppb, a level scientists described as being higher than at any time in the previous 400,000 years.[4] (Historically, methane concentrations in the world's atmosphere have ranged between 300 and 400 ppb during glacial periods commonlly known as ice ages, and between 600 to 700 ppb during the warm interglacial periods).

In addition, there is a large, but unknown, amount of methane in methane clathrates in the ocean floors. The Earth's crust contains huge amounts of methane. Large amounts of methane are produced anaerobically by methanogenesis. Other sources include mud volcanoes, which are connected with deep geological faults, landfill and livestock (primarily ruminants) from enteric fermentation.

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