Elongate fluid flow structures: Stress control on gas migration at Opouawe Bank, New Zealand.

Riedel, Michael , Crutchley, Gareth , Koch, Stephanie, Berndt, Christian , Bialas, Jörg , Eisenberg-Klein, Gerald, Prüßmann, Jürgen, Papenberg, Cord and Klaeschen, Dirk (2018) Elongate fluid flow structures: Stress control on gas migration at Opouawe Bank, New Zealand. Open Access Marine and Petroleum Geology, 92 . pp. 913-931. DOI 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2018.03.029.

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Supplementary data:



• Elongated fault structures are conduits for focused fluid flow.
• Gas migration occurs only along a sub-set of faults across Opouawe bank.
• Stress state deduced from 3D fault structures appears partially stratigraphically controlled.


High-resolution 2D and 3D seismic data from Opouawe Bank, an accretionary ridge on the Hikurangi subduction margin off New Zealand, show evidence for exceptional gas migration pathways linked to the stress regime of the ridge. Although the ridge has formed by thrusting and folding in response to a sub-horizontal principal compressive stress (σ1), it is clear that local stress conditions related to uplift and extension around the apex of folding (i.e. sub-vertical σ1) are controlling shallow fluid flow. The most conspicuous structural features are parallel and horizontally-elongated extensional fractures that are perpendicular to the ridge axis. At shallower depth near the seafloor, extensional fractures evolve into more concentric structures which ultimately reach the seafloor where they terminate at gas seeps. In addition to the ridge-perpendicular extensional fractures, we also observe both ridge-perpendicular and ridge-parallel normal faults. This indicates that both longitudinal- and ridge-perpendicular extension have occurred in the past. The deepest stratigraphic unit that we image has undergone significant folding and is affected by both sets of normal faults. Shallower stratigraphic units are less deformed and only host the ridge-parallel normal faults, indicating that longitudinal extension was limited to an older phase of ridge evolution. Present-day gas migration has exploited the fabric from longitudinal extension at depth. As the gas ascends to shallower units it ‘self-generates’ its flow pathways through the more concentric structures near the seafloor. This shows that gas migration can evolve from being dependent on inherited tectonic structures at depth, to becoming self-propagating closer to the seafloor.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Gas hydrates, gas migration pathways, 3D seismic attributes, stress control, subduction zone
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: Elsevier
Projects: NEMESYS
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2018 11:42
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2021 07:32
URI: https://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/42403

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