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A laboratory investigation into the seismic velocities of methane gas hydrate-bearing sand

Priest, J.A.; Best, A.I.; Clayton, C.R.I.. 2005 A laboratory investigation into the seismic velocities of methane gas hydrate-bearing sand. Journal of Geophysical Research, 110 (B4). B04102-[13pp]. 10.1029/2004JB003259

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Abstract/Summary

Remote seismic methods, which measure the compressional wave (P wave) velocity (Vp) and shear wave (S wave) velocity (Vs), can be used to assess the distribution and concentration of marine gas hydrates in situ. However, interpreting seismic data requires an understanding of the seismic properties of hydrate-bearing sediments, which has proved problematic because of difficulties in recovering intact hydrate-bearing sediment samples and in performing valid laboratory tests. Therefore a dedicated gas hydrate resonant column (GHRC) was developed to allow pressure and temperature conditions suitable for hydrate formation to be applied to a specimen with subsequent measurement of both Vp and Vs made at frequencies and strains relevant to marine seismic investigations. Thirteen sand specimens containing differing amounts of evenly dispersed hydrate were tested. The results show a bipartite relationship between velocities and hydrate pore saturation, with a marked transition between 3 and 5% hydrate pore saturation for both Vp and Vs. This suggests that methane hydrate initially cements sand grain contacts then infills the pore space. These results show in detail for the first time, using a resonant column, how hydrate cementation affects elastic wave properties in quartz sand. This information is valuable for validating theoretical models relating seismic wave propagation in marine sediments to hydrate pore saturation.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1029/2004JB003259
ISSN: 0148-0227
Additional Keywords: methane hydrate, seismic velocity, sand
Related URLs:
Date made live: 16 Mar 2006 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/123990

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