Episodic methane concentrations at seep sites on the upper slope Opouawe Bank, southern Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand.

Krabbenhöft, Anne, Netzeband, Gesa, Bialas, Jörg and Papenberg, Cord (2010) Episodic methane concentrations at seep sites on the upper slope Opouawe Bank, southern Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand. Marine Geology, 272 (1/4). pp. 71-78. DOI 10.1016/j.margeo.2009.08.001.

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Along many active and some passive margins cold seeps are abundant and play an important role in the mechanisms of methane supply from the subsurface into seawater and atmosphere. With numerous cold seeps already known, the convergent Hikurangi Margin east of North Island, New Zealand, was selected as a target area for further detailed, multidisciplinary investigation of cold seeps within the New Vents and associated projects. Methane and temperature sensors (METS) were deployed at selected seep sites on the Opouawe Bank off the southeastern tip of North Island and near the southern end of the imbricate-thrust Hikurangi Margin, together with seismic ocean bottom stations. They remained in place for about 48 h while seismic data were collected. The seeps were associated with seep-related seismic structures. Methane concentrations were differing by an order of magnitude between neighbouring stations. The large differences at sites only 300 m apart, demonstrate that the seeps were small scale structures, and that plumes of discharged methane were very localised within the bottom water. High methane concentrations recorded at active seep sites at anticlinal structures indicate focused fluid flow. Methane discharge from the seafloor was episodic, which may result from enhanced fluid flow facilitated by reduced hydrostatic load at low tides. The strong semi-diurnal tidal currents also contribute to the fast dilution and mixing of the discharged methane in the seawater. Despite dispersal by currents, fluid flow through fissures, fractures, and faults close to the METS positions and tidal fluctuations are believed to explain most of the elevated methane concentrations registered by the METS. Small earthquakes do not appear to be correlated with seawater methane anomalies.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Geophysics; methane, METS, seeps, vents, Seismics, Hikurangi Margin, Okouawe Bank, Wararapa area, New Zealand
Research affiliation: OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.margeo.2009.08.001
ISSN: 0025-3227
Projects: Future Ocean, NewVents
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2009 11:56
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2017 12:22
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/1406

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