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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Highlights: • Identify 3 groups of gas migration structures in seismic data from the Danube Fan. • Migration structures related to shallow gas migration and flares at the seafloor. • Gas migration is controlled by lithological heterogeneity and sediment deformation. • Mass transport deposits play a role in controlling vertical migration occurrence. Abstract: A large geophysical dataset, including bathymetry, and 2D and 3D P-cable seismic data, revealed evidence of numerous gas flares near the S2 Canyon in the Danube Fan, northwestern Black Sea. This dataset allows us to investigate potential relationships between gas migration pathways, gas vents observed at the seafloor and submarine slope failures. Vertical gas migration structures as revealed in the seismics appear to be concentrated near submarine slope failure structures. Where these seismically defined features extend upwards to the seafloor, they correlate with the location of gas flares. However, not all these structures reach the seafloor, in some cases because they are capped by overlying sediments. A strong correlation is inferred between gas migration pathways, heterogeneous mass transport deposits and contacts between adjacent units of contrasting lithology. Although missing age constrains prevent a final judgement, we discuss the potential relationship between submarine slope failures and gas migration in order to determine if gas migration is a precursor to failure, or if the presence of slope failures and associated mass transport deposits facilitates the migration of gas. Our observations indicate that lithological heterogeneity, mass transport deposits and minor sediment deformation control gas migration pathways and the formation of gas chimney-like features. Gas migration is focused and gradual, resulting in gas flares where the chimney-like features extend to the seafloor, with no evidence of erosive features such as pockmarks.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Highlights • BSR position does not match BGHS as predicted based on regional TP conditions. • Use steady state and transient models to determine extent of hydrate stability. • Investigate the influence of topographic focusing on hydrate stability. • Variable thermal properties of sediment impact hydrate stability. The Danube Fan in the western Black Sea shows many features indicating the presence of gas and gas hydrates, including a bottom simulating reflection (BSR), high-amplitude anomalies beneath the BSR and the presence of gas flares at the seafloor. The BSR depth derived from 3D P-cable seismic data of an older slope canyon of the fan (the S2 canyon) suggests that the BSR is not in equilibrium with the present-day topography. The Danube Fan was abandoned ∼7.5 ka, and the S2 canyon was likely incised ∼20 ka, suggesting that the gas hydrate system has had at least 7.5 ka years to equilibrate to the present-day conditions. Here we examine the extent and position of the hydrate stability zone through constructing both steady and transient state models of a 2D profile across the S2 canyon. This was done using inputs from mapping of the 3D P-cable seismic data and geochemical analysis of core samples. Using these models, we investigate the effects of different factors including variable thermal properties of heterogeneous sediments in the vicinity of the canyon and, topographic focusing on the geothermal gradient on the extent of the hydrate stability zone. Our results indicate that both factors have a significant effect and that the hydrate system may actually be in, or approaching equilibrium.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2016-12-12
    Description: Highlights • Geostatistical analysis methods applied to multibeam bathymetry and seismic data • Geomorphology of seafloor depressions has been quantitatively characterised. • No direct correlation between gas venting and formation of seafloor depressions • Likely mechanism of depression formation: groundwater flux linked to current flow Abstract Seafloor depressions are widespread on the present-day continental slope along the southeast coast of New Zealand's South Island. The depressions appear to be bathymetrically constrained to depths below 500 m, correlating to the top of the gas hydrate stability zone, and above 1100 m. Similar depressions observed on the Chatham Rise are interpreted to have formed as a result of gas hydrate dissociation, leading to the hypothesis that a similar origin can be applied for the depressions investigated in this study. Our investigation, however, has found limited geophysical or geochemical evidence to support this hypothesis. The objective of this paper is to examine whether a causal relationship can be established between potential mechanisms of depression formation and the present-day seafloor geomorphology. Geostatistical analysis methods applied to multibeam bathymetry and interpretation of 3D seismic data have been used to empirically describe the geomorphology of the seafloor depressions and investigate potential correlations between geomorphology and other processes such as current flow along the shelf and slope in this region and underlying polygonal fault systems. Although the results of our analysis do not preclude that the seafloor depressions formed as a result of gas hydrate dissociation, neither does our geophysical or geochemical evidence support the theory. Therefore, we propose an alternative mechanism that may have been responsible for the formation of these structures. Based on the evidence presented in this study, the most likely mechanism responsible for the formation of these seafloor depressions is groundwater flux related to the interaction of current systems and the complex geomorphology of submarine canyons on the southeast coast of the South Island.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: The goal of this study is to computationally determine the potential distribution patterns of diffusion-driven methane hydrate accumulations in coarse-grained marine sediments. Diffusion of dissolved methane in marine gas hydrate systems has been proposed as a potential transport mechanism through which large concentrations of hydrate can preferentially accumulate in coarse-grained sediments over geologic time. Using one-dimensional compositional reservoir simulations, we examine hydrate distribution patterns at the scale of individual sand layers (1-20 m thick) that are deposited between microbially active fine-grained material buried through the gas hydrate stability zone (GHSZ). We then extrapolate to two-dimensional and basin-scale three-dimensional simulations, where we model dipping sands and multilayered systems. We find that properties of a sand layer including pore size distribution, layer thickness, dip, and proximity to other layers in multilayered systems all exert control on diffusive methane fluxes toward and within a sand, which in turn impact the distribution of hydrate throughout a sand unit. In all of these simulations, we incorporate data on physical properties and sand layer geometries from the Terrebonne Basin gas hydrate system in the Gulf of Mexico. We demonstrate that diffusion can generate high hydrate saturations (upward of 90%) at the edges of thin sands at shallow depths within the GHSZ, but that it is ineffective at producing high hydrate saturations throughout thick (greater than 10 m) sands buried deep within the GHSZ. Furthermore, we find that hydrate in fine-grained material can preserve high hydrate saturations in nearby thin sands with burial.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 5
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    Frontiers
    In:  Frontiers for Young Minds, 7 (Article 25).
    Publication Date: 2019-04-30
    Description: Did you know that we have better maps of the moon, Mars, and Venus than we do of the seafloor on Earth? Since oceans cover 71% of the Earth’s surface, understanding what the seafloor looks like, and where different processes, such as ocean currents are active, is hugely important. Mapping the seafloor helps us to work out things like where different types of fish live, where we might find resources, such as rare metals and fossil fuels, and whether there is a risk of underwater landslides happening that might cause a tsunami. Mapping the seafloor is very challenging, because we cannot use the same techniques that we would use on land. To map the deep ocean, we use a tool called a multibeam echo-sounder, which is attached to a ship or a submarine vessel.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2017-05-22
    Type: Conference or Workshop Item , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Highlights • Identify new fine-grained hydrate filled fracture units in the Terrebonne Basin. • Identify new hydrate bearing thin sands, mostly within fractured muds. • Present detailed seismic amplitude maps of the new hydrate bearing units. • Discuss methane migration mechanisms and hydrate formation in thin sands. • Identify and discuss source-reservoir relationships between thick muds and thin sands. Abstract The interactions of microbial methane generation in fine-grained clay-rich sediments, methane migration, and gas hydrate accumulation in coarse-grained, sand-rich sediments are not yet fully understood. The Terrebonne Basin in the northern Gulf of Mexico provides an ideal setting to investigate the migration of methane resulting in the formation of hydrate in thin sand units interbedded with fractured muds. Using 3D seismic and well log data, we have identified several previously unidentified hydrate bearing units in the Terrebonne Basin. Two units are 〉100 m-thick fine-grained clay-rich units where gas hydrate occurs in near-vertical fractures. In some locations, these fine-grained units lack fracture features, and they contain 1–4-m thick hydrate bearing-sands. In addition, several other thin sand units were identified that contain gas hydrate, including one sand that was intersected by a well at the location of a discontinuous bottom-simulating reflector. Using correlation of well log data to seismic data, we have mapped and described these new units in detail across the extent of the available data, allowing us to determine the variation of seismic amplitudes and investigate the distribution of free gas and/or hydrate. We present several potential source-reservoir scenarios between the thick fractured mud units and thin hydrate bearing sands. We observe that hydrate preferentially forms within thin sand layers rather than fractures when sands are present in larger marine mud units. Based on regional mapping showing the patchy lateral extent of the thin sand layers, we propose that diffusive methane migration or short-migration of microbially generated methane from the marine mud units led to the formation of hydrate in these thin sands, as discontinuous sands would not be conducive to long-range migration of methane from deeper reservoirs.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2019-07-08
    Description: Highlights • Propose that all BSRs are in fact discontinuous in nature. • Challenge the commonly accepted textbook definition of a BSR. • Acquisition geometry and frequency content significantly impact imaging of BSRs. • Frequency content of seismic data is a key factor in characterizing gas hydrates. • Present precise maps of discontinuous BSRs, not just areal extent. Abstract Bottom-simulating reflections (BSRs) identified in seismic data are well documented; and are commonly interpreted to indicate the presence of gas hydrates along continental margins, as well as to estimate regional volumes of gas hydrate. A BSR is defined as a reflection that sub-parallels the seafloor but is opposite in polarity and cross-cuts dipping sedimentary strata. BSRs form as a result of a strong negative acoustic impedance contrast. BSRs, however, are a diverse seismic phenomena that manifest in strikingly contrasting ways in different geological settings, and in different seismic data types. We investigate the characteristics of BSRs, using conventional and high resolution, 2D and 3D seismic data sets in three locations: the Terrebonne and Orca Basins in the Gulf of Mexico, and Blake Ridge on the US Atlantic Margin. The acquisition geometry and frequency content of the seismic data significantly impact the resultant character of BSRs, as observed with depth and amplitude maps of the BSRs. Furthermore, our amplitude maps reinforce the concept that the BSR represents a zone, over which the transition from hydrate to free gas occurs, as opposed to the conventional model of the BSR occurring at a single interface. Our results show that a BSR can be mapped in three dimensions but it is not spatially continuous, at least not at the basin scale. Rather, a BSR manifests itself as a discontinuous, or patchy, reflection and only at local scales is it continuous. We suggest the discontinuous nature of BSRs is the result of variable saturation and distribution of free gas and hydrate, acquisition geometry and frequency content of the recorded seismic data. The commonly accepted definition of a BSR should be broadened with careful consideration of these factors, to represent the uppermost extent of enhanced amplitude at the shallowest occurrence of free gas trapped by overlying hydrate-bearing sediments.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 9
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    Frontiers
    In:  Frontiers for Young Minds, 7 (96).
    Publication Date: 2019-07-22
    Description: All around the world, beneath the seafloor, there are huge volumes of natural gas. But these are not the normal gas reservoirs that we collect to use for cooking, heating our homes, and making electricity in power stations. This gas is locked up in what we call gas hydrates. Gas hydrates are a solid form of water, rather like ice, that contains gas molecules locked up in a “cage” of water molecules. Gas hydrates are found on continental shelves around the world and in permafrost in the arctic. We are interested in gas hydrates because they could be used as a future source of natural gas. They are also important because they can cause large landslides on the seafloor, damaging offshore pipelines and cables and contributing to the formation of tsunami waves.
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2019-09-23
    Description: Leg A SO251-1, Yokohama - Yokohama, 04.10.2016 - 15.10.2016, Leg B SO251-2, Yokohama - Yokohama, 18.10.2016 - 02.11.2016
    Type: Report , NonPeerReviewed
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