Estimation of the global amount of submarine gas hydrates formed via microbial methane formation based on numerical reaction-transport modeling and a novel parameterization of Holocene sedimentation.

Burwicz, Ewa B., Rüpke, Lars and Wallmann, Klaus (2011) Estimation of the global amount of submarine gas hydrates formed via microbial methane formation based on numerical reaction-transport modeling and a novel parameterization of Holocene sedimentation. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 75 (16). pp. 4562-4576. DOI 10.1016/j.gca.2011.05.029.

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Abstract

This study provides new estimates for the global offshore methane hydrate inventory formed due to microbial CH4 production under Quaternary and Holocene boundary conditions. A multi-1D model for particular organic carbon (POC) degradation, gas hydrate formation and dissolution is presented. The novel reaction-transport model contains an open three-phase system of two solid compounds (organic carbon, gas hydrates), three dissolved species (methane, sulfates, inorganic carbon) and one gaseous phase (free methane). The model computes time-resolved concentration profiles for all compounds by accounting for chemical reactions as well as diffusive and advective transport processes. The reaction module builds upon a new kinetic model of POC degradation which considers a down-core decrease in reactivity of organic matter. Various chemical reactions such as organic carbon decay, anaerobic oxidation of methane, methanogenesis, and sulfate reduction are resolved using appropriate kinetic rate laws and constants. Gas hydrates and free gas form if the concentration of dissolved methane exceeds the pressure, temperature, and salinity-dependent solubility limits of hydrates and/or free gas, with a rate given by kinetic parameters. Global input grids have been compiled from a variety of oceanographic, geological and geophysical data sets including a new parameterization of sedimentation rates in terms of water depth.

We find prominent gas hydrate provinces offshore Central America where sediments are rich in organic carbon and in the Arctic Ocean where low bottom water temperatures stabilize methane hydrates. The world’s total gas hydrate inventory is estimated at 0.82 x 10sup13 m3 - 2.10 x 10sup15 m3 CH4 (at STP conditions) or, equivalently, 4.18–995 Gt of methane carbon. The first value refers to present day conditions estimated using the relatively low Holocene sedimentation rates; the second value corresponds to a scenario of higher Quaternary sedimentation rates along continental margins.

Our results clearly show that in-situ POC degradation is at present not an efficient hydrate forming process. Significant hydrate deposits in marine settings are more likely to have formed at times of higher sedimentation during the Quaternary or as a consequence of upward fluid transport at continental margins.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: Verlag erlaubt Verwendung des Verlags-pdfs !!!
Keywords: Meeresgeologie; Geochemistry; Gas hydrates
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-JRG-B3 Seabed Resources
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.gca.2011.05.029
ISSN: 0016-7037
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2011 15:24
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2013 10:05
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/13115

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