Seismic evidence for shallow gas-escape features associated with a retreating gas hydrate zone offshore west Svalbard

Sarkar, Sudipta, Berndt, Christian, Minshull, Timothy A., Westbrook, Graham K., Klaeschen, Dirk, Masson, Douglas G., Chabert, Anne and Thatcher, Kate E. (2012) Seismic evidence for shallow gas-escape features associated with a retreating gas hydrate zone offshore west Svalbard Journal of Geophysical Research - Solid Earth, 117 (B9). B09102. DOI 10.1029/2011JB009126.

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Abstract

Active gas venting occurs on the uppermost continental slope off west Svalbard, close to and upslope from the present-day intersection of the base of methane hydrate stability (BMHS) with the seabed in about 400 m water depth in the inter-fan region between the Kongsfjorden and Isfjorden cross-shelf troughs. From an integrated analysis of high-resolution, two-dimensional, pre-stack migrated seismic reflection profiles and multibeam bathymetric data, we map out a bottom simulating reflector (BSR) in the inter-fan region and analyze the subsurface gas migration and accumulation. Gas seeps mostly occur in the zone from which the BMHS at the seabed has retreated over the recent past (1975–2008) as a consequence of a bottom water temperature rise of 1°C. The overall margin-parallel alignment of the gas seeps is not related to fault-controlled gas migration, as seismic evidence of faults is absent. There is no evidence for a BSR close to the gas flare region in the upper slope but numerous gas pockets exist directly below the predicted BMHS. While the contour following trend of the gas seeps could be a consequence of retreat of the landward limit of the BMHS and gas hydrate dissociation, the scattered distribution of seeps within the probable hydrate dissociation corridor and the occurrence of a cluster of seeps outside the predicted BMHS limit and near the shelf break indicate the role of lithological heterogeneity in focusing gas migration.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000309135300001
Keywords: bright spots ; gas hydrates ; gas seeps ; glacimarine strata ; bottom-water warming; FRAM STRAIT; CONTINENTAL MARGINS; OCEANIC-CRUST; BARENTS SEA; NW-SVALBARD; ICE-SHEET; SEDIMENTS; SHELF; CONTOURITES; MORPHOLOGY
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1029/2011JB009126
ISSN: 0148-0227
Related URLs:
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2012 10:35
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2014 13:50
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/16561

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