The next big thing in natural gas production may come from the enormous amount of gas trapped in ice found both in the ground and under the sea.

The U.S. Geological Survey says it is sometimes referred to as the "ice that burns," because when lit by a flame the icy chunks of "methane hydrates" will ignite.

Methane hydrates are formed when natural gas rises from the seabed and combines with water to form ice in the ocean and on land in the Arctic.

Most oil and gas drillers have traditionally seen hydrates as a nuisance for deepwater drillers in Alaska and elsewhere, where they can clog pipes used in extraction.

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