A Shallow Seabed Dynamic Gas Hydrate System off SW Taiwan: Results From 3‐D Seismic, Thermal, and Fluid Migration Analyses.

Kunath, Pascal, Chi, Wu‐Cheng, Berndt, Christian , Chen, Liwen, Liu, Char‐Shine, Kläschen, Dirk and Muff, Sina (2020) A Shallow Seabed Dynamic Gas Hydrate System off SW Taiwan: Results From 3‐D Seismic, Thermal, and Fluid Migration Analyses. Open Access Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 125 (11). e2019JB019245‐T. DOI 10.1029/2019JB019245.

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Large amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, are stored in hydrates beneath the seafloor. Sea level changes can trigger massive methane release into the ocean. It is not clear, however, whether surficial seafloor processes can cause comparable discharge. Previously, fluid migration was difficult to study due to a lack of spatially dense seismic and thermal observations. Here we examine a gas hydrate site at Four‐Way‐Closure Ridge off SW Taiwan using a high‐resolution 3‐D seismic cube, together with bottom‐simulating reflections (BSRs) mapped in the cube, a thermal probe data set, and 3‐D thermal modeling results. We document, on a scale of tens of meters, the interaction between surficial sedimentary processes, fluid flow, and a dynamic gas hydrate system. Fluid migrates upward through dipping permeable strata in the limb, the slope basin, and along thrust faults and ridge‐top normal faults. The seismic data also reveal several double BSRs that underlie seabed sedimentary sliding and depositional features. Abrupt changes in subsurface pressure and temperature due to the rapid seabed sedimentary processes can cause a rapid shift of the base of the gas hydrate stability zone. This shift may be either downward or upward and would result in the accumulation or dissociation of hydrate in sediments sandwiched by the double BSRs, respectively. We propose that dynamic surficial processes on the seafloor together with shallow focused fluid flow affect hydrate distribution and saturation at depth and may even result in methane expulsion into the ocean if such localized features are common along convergent plate boundaries.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: 3‐D seismic, gas hydrate, Taiwan, thermal modeling, fluid migration, methane emissions
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: AGU (American Geophysical Union), Wiley
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2020 07:47
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2023 09:44
URI: https://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/51094

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