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Natural Gas Hydrates: Occurrence, Distribution, and Detection



Natural Gas Hydrates: Occurrence, Distribution, and Detection

Charles K. Paull (Editor), William P. Dillon (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-875-90982-0 January 2001 American Geophysical Union 315 Pages


Published by the American Geophysical Union as part of the Geophysical Monograph Series, Volume 124.

We publish this volume at a time when there is a growing interest in gas hydrates and major expansion in international research efforts. The first recognition of natural gas hydrate on land in Arctic conditions was in the mid-1960s (by I. Makogon) and in the seabed environment only in the early 1970s, after natural seafloor gas hydrate was drilled on the Blake Ridge during Deep Sea Drilling Project Leg 11. Initial scientific investigations were slow to develop because the study of natural gas hydrates is unusually challenging. Gas hydrate exists in nature in conditions of temperature and pressure where human beings cannot survive, and if gas hydrate is transported from its region of stability to normal Earth-surface conditions, it dissociates. Thus, in contrast to most minerals, we cannot depend on drilled samples to provide accurate estimates of the amount of gas hydrate present. Even the heat and changes in chemistry (methane saturation, salinity, etc.) introduced by the drilling process affect the gas hydrate, independent of the changes brought about by moving a sample to the surface. Gas hydrate has been identified in nature generally by inference from indirect evidence in drilling data or by using remotely sensed indications, mostly from seismic data. Obviously, the established techniques ofgeologic analysis, which require direct observation and sampling, do not apply to gas hydrate studies, and controversy has surrounded many interpretations. Pressure/temperature conditions appropriate for the existence of gas hydrate occur over the greater part of the shallow subsurface of the Earth beneath the ocean at water depths exceeding about 500 m (shallower beneath colder Arctic seas) and on land beneath high-latitude permafrost. Gas hydrate actually will be present in such conditions, however, only where methane is present at high concentrations. In the Arctic, these methane concentrations are often associated with petroleum deposits, whereas at continental margins in the oceans, where by far the greatest amount of gas hydrate occurs, the gas is almost all microbially derived methane. The margins of the oceans are where the flux of organic carbon to the sea floor is greatest because oceanic biological productivity is highest and organic detritus from the continents also collects to some extent. Furthermore, the continental margins are where sedimentation rates are fastest, so that the rapid accumulation of sediment serves to cover and seal the organic material before it is oxidized, allowing the microorganisms in the sediments to use it as food and form the methane that becomes incorporated into gas hydrate.

Charles K. Paull and William P. Dillon vii


The Global Occurrence of Natural Gas Hydrates
Keith A. Kvenvolden and Thomas D. Lorenson 3

Modeling the Global Carbon Cycle With a Gas Hydrate Capacitor: Significance for the Latest
Paleocene Thermal Maximum
Gerald R. Dickens 19


Overviews and Methods of Geochemistry

Ion Exclusion Associated With Marine Gas Hydrate Deposits
William Ussier III and Charles K. Paull 41

History and Significance of Gas Sampling During the DSDP and ODP
Charles K. Paull and William Ussier III 53

Gas Hydrates in Convergent Margins: Formation, Occurrence, Geochemistry and Global Significance
Miriam Kastner 67

Geochemical Regional Studies


Sea Floor Methane Hydrates at Hydrate Ridge, Cascadia Margin
E. Suess, M.E. Torres, G. Bohrmann, R.W. Collier, D. Rickert, C. Goldfinger, P. Linke, A. Heuser,
H. Sahling, K. Heeschen, C. Jung, K. Nakamura, J. Greinert, O. Pfannkuche, A. Trehu,
G.Klinkhammer, M.J. Whiticar, A. Eisenhauer, 8. Teichert, and M. Elvert 87

Gas Hydrate-Associated Carbonates and Methane-Venting at Hydrate Ridge:
Classification, Distribution and Origin of Authigenic Lithologies
Jens Greinert, Gerhard Bohrmann, and Erwin Suess 99

Carbon Isotopes of Biomarkers Derived from Methane-Oxidizing Microbes at Hydrate Ridge, Cascadia
Convergent Margin
Marcus Elvert, Jens Greinert, Erwin Suess, and Michael J. Whiticar 115

Gulf of Mexico

Stability of Thermogenic Gas Hydrate in the Gulf of Mexico: Constraints on Models of Climate Change
Roger Sassen, Stephen T Sweet, Alexei V. Milkov, Debra A. DeFreitas, Mahlon C. Kennicutt,
and Harry H. Roberts 131

Fluid and Gas Expulsion on the Northern Gulf of Mexico Continental Slope:
Mud-Prone to Mineral-Prone Responses
Harry H. Roberts 145


Geophysical Overviews and Methods

Deep-tow Seismic Investigations of Methane Hydrates
Warren T Wood and Joseph F. Gettrust 165

Comparison of Elastic Velocity Models for Gas-Hydrate-Bearing Sediments
Myung W. Lee and Timothy S. Gollett 179

Quantitative Well-Log Analysis of In-Situ Natural Gas Hydrates
Timothy S. Gollett 189

Geophysical Regional Studies

Blake Ridge

Seafloor Collapse and Methane Venting Associated with Gas Hydrate on the
Blake Ridge—Causes and Implications to Seafloor Stability and Methane Release
William P. Dillon, Jeffrey W. Nealon, Michael H. Taylor, Myung W. Lee, Rebecca M. Drury, and Christopher H. Anton 211

Seismic Studies of the Blake Ridge: Implications for Hydrate Distribution,Methane Expulsion,
and Free Gas Dynamics
W. Steven Holbrook 235

Peru/Middle American Trenches

Gas Hydrates Along the Peru and Middle America Trench System
Ingo A. Percher, Nina Kukowski, Cesar R. Ranero, and Roland von Huene 257


Geophysical Studies of Marine Gas Hydrates in Northern Cascadia
R. D. Hyndman, G. D. Spence, R. Chapman, M. Reidel, and R. N. Edwards 273

High-resolution Multibeam Survey of Hydrate Ridge, Offshore Oregon
David Clague, Norm Maher, and Charles K. Paul I 297


Potential Influence of Gas Hydrates on Seabed Installations
Martin Hovland and Ove Tobias Gudmestad 307