Submarine slope failures due to pipe structure formation.

Elger, Judith, Berndt, Christian, Rüpke, Lars, Krastel, Sebastian, Gross, Felix and Geissler, Wolfram H. (2018) Submarine slope failures due to pipe structure formation. Nature Communications, 9 (Art.No. 715). DOI 10.1038/s41467-018-03176-1.

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Abstract

There is a strong spatial correlation between submarine slope failures and the occurrence of gas hydrates. This has been attributed to the dynamic nature of gas hydrate systems and the potential reduction of slope stability due to bottom water warming or sea level drop. However, 30 years of research into this process found no solid supporting evidence. Here we present new reflection seismic data from the Arctic Ocean and numerical modelling results supporting a different link between hydrates and slope stability. Hydrates reduce sediment permeability and cause build-up of overpressure at the base of the gas hydrate stability zone. Resulting hydro-fracturing forms pipe structures as pathways for overpressured fluids to migrate upward. Where these pipe structures reach shallow permeable beds, this overpressure transfers laterally and destabilises the slope. This process reconciles the spatial correlation of submarine landslides and gas hydrate, and it is independent of environmental change and water depth.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: GAS HYDRATE STABILITY; STOREGGA SLIDE; CONTINENTAL-MARGIN; LANDSLIDE COMPLEX; FLUID MIGRATION; SEA-FLOOR; SEDIMENTS; SVALBARD; SYSTEM; RIDGE
Research affiliation: Kiel University
AWI
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
UNSPECIFIED
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1038/s41467-018-03176-1
ISSN: 2041-1723
Expeditions/Models/Experiments:
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2018 14:30
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2018 09:43
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/41938

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