Patterns of subsurface fluid-flow at cold seeps: The Hikurangi Margin, offshore New Zealand.

Krabbenhoeft, Anne, Bialas, Jörg , Klaucke, Ingo , Crutchley, Gareth, Papenberg, Cord and Netzeband, Gesa (2013) Patterns of subsurface fluid-flow at cold seeps: The Hikurangi Margin, offshore New Zealand. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 39 (1). pp. 59-73. DOI 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2012.09.008.

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Based on multichannel seismic, geoacoustic, and methane sensor data, four different areas along the Hikurangi Margin show multiple indications for seep activity including bright spots, transparent zones, vertical chimneys, and the occurrence and distribution of bottom simulating reflectors. Locations where these features reach the seafloor are characterised by high backscatter intensity on sidescan sonar images and transparent zones in sediment echosounder profiles, while methane sensors show episodic, elevated methane concentrations near the seep sites. Methane discharge is facilitated by reduced hydrostatic pressure during low tides. The greatest number of seeps at Opouawe Bank correlates with the highest methane activity along the Hikurangi Margin. High heat flow values on flanks of ridges and low heat flow values on anticlines reflect a topographic effect on subsurface temperatures. Elevated heat flow occurs in the vicinity of seeps on Opouawe Bank. We propose that there are two drivers behind methane seepage with respect to the migration pathways of methane through the gas hydrate stability zone (GHSZ) to the seafloor: (1) structurally controlled and (2) stratigraphically controlled. In the structural model, vertical chimneys are the major pathways for methane through the GHSZ. Part of the upwardly migrating methane forms gas hydrate within the chimney. In the stratigraphic model, methane migration is stratigraphically controlled beneath seeps that are located on bathymetric highs and/or where subsurface anticlines occur beneath seeps. The structurally controlled seeps produce higher methane escape at the seafloor than those that are stratigraphically controlled. A combination of both driving mechanisms results in the highest methane seepage rates at the Tui Seep on Opouawe Bank.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000313545600005
Keywords: Cold seeps; Seismics; Subbottom profiler; Gas hydrate; Chimney; Methane; Hikurangi margin; New Zealand
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2012.09.008
ISSN: 0264-8172
Projects: NewVents
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2012 10:04
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2017 07:44

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