Preliminary interpretation of electromagnetic, heat flow, seismic, and geochemical data for gas hydrate distribution across the Porangahau Ridge, New Zealand

Schwalenberg, Katrin, Would, Warren, Pecher, Ingo A., Hamdan, Leila, Henrys, Stuart, Jegen, Marion and Coffin, Richard (2010) Preliminary interpretation of electromagnetic, heat flow, seismic, and geochemical data for gas hydrate distribution across the Porangahau Ridge, New Zealand Marine Geology, 272 (1-4). pp. 89-98. DOI 10.1016/j.margeo.2009.10.024. Date online first: 2009

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Porangahau Ridge, located offshore the Wairarapa on the Hikurangi Margin, is an active ocean-continent collision region in northeastern New Zealand coastal waters. Bottom simulating reflections (BSRs) in seismic data indicate the potential for significant gas hydrate deposits across this part of the margin. Beneath Porangahau Ridge a prominent high-amplitude reflection band has been observed to extend from a deep BSR towards the seafloor. Review of the seismic data suggest that this high-amplitude band is caused by local shoaling of the base of gas hydrate stability due to advective heat flow and it may constitute the location of elevated gas hydrate concentrations. During R/V Tangaroa cruise TAN0607 in 2006 heat flow probing for measurements of vertical fluid migration, sediment coring for methane concentrations, and additional seismic profiles were obtained across the ridge. In a subsequent 2007 expedition, on R/V Sonne cruise SO191, a controlled source electromagnetic (CSEM) experiment was conducted along the same seismic, geochemical, and heat flow transect to reveal the electrical resistivity distribution. CSEM data highlight a remarkable coincidence of anomalously high resistivity along the western, landward flank of the ridge which point to locally higher gas hydrate concentration above the high amplitude reflection band. Measured sediment temperature profiles, also along the western flank, consistently show non-linear and concave geothermal gradients typical of advective heat flow. Geochemical data reveal elevated methane concentrations in surface sediments concomitant with a rapid decline in sulfate concentrations indicating elevated methane flux and oxidation of methane in conjunction with sulfate reduction at the landward ridge base. Together, these data sets suggest that the western rim of Porangahau Ridge is a tectonically driven zone of rising fluids that transport methane and cause an upward inflection of the base of gas hydrate stability and the formation of locally enriched gas hydrate above the reflective zone.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Gas hydrates; Geodynamics; Gas hydrate, Hikurangi Margin, marine CSEM, heat flow, seismic, geochemistry
Research affiliation: OceanRep > SFB 574
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
OceanRep > SFB 574 > N01
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.margeo.2009.10.024
ISSN: 0025-3227
Projects: SFB574, NewVents
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2010 16:16
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2017 13:32

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