Resistivity image beneath an area of active methane seeps in the west Svalbard continental slope

Goswami, Bedanta K.; Weitemeyer, Karen A.; Minshull, Timothy A.; Sinha, Martin C.; Westbrook, Graham K.; Marin-Moreno, Héctor. 2016 Resistivity image beneath an area of active methane seeps in the west Svalbard continental slope. Geophysical Journal International, 207 (2). 1286-1302.

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The Arctic continental margin contains large amounts of methane in the form of methane hydrates. The west Svalbard continental slope is an area where active methane seeps have been reported near the landward limit of the hydrate stability zone. The presence of bottom simulating reflectors (BSRs) on seismic reflection data in water depths greater than 600 m suggests the presence of free gas beneath gas hydrates in the area. Resistivity obtained from marine controlled source electromagnetic (CSEM) data provides a useful complement to seismic methods for detecting shallow hydrate and gas as they are more resistive than surrounding water saturated sediments. We acquired two CSEM lines in the west Svalbard continental slope, extending from the edge of the continental shelf (250 m water depth) to water depths of around 800 m. High resistivities (5–12 Ωm) observed above the BSR support the presence of gas hydrate in water depths greater than 600 m. High resistivities (3–4 Ωm) at 390–600 m water depth also suggest possible hydrate occurrence within the gas hydrate stability zone (GHSZ) of the continental slope. In addition, high resistivities (4–8 Ωm) landward of the GHSZ are coincident with high-amplitude reflectors and low velocities reported in seismic data that indicate the likely presence of free gas. Pore space saturation estimates using a connectivity equation suggest 20–50 per cent hydrate within the lower slope sediments and less than 12 per cent within the upper slope sediments. A free gas zone beneath the GHSZ (10–20 per cent gas saturation) is connected to the high free gas saturated (10–45 per cent) area at the edge of the continental shelf, where most of the seeps are observed. This evidence supports the presence of lateral free gas migration beneath the GHSZ towards the continental shelf.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0956-540X
Additional Keywords: Electrical properties; Marine electromagnetics; Gas and hydrate systems; Arctic region
Date made live: 21 Dec 2016 11:53 +0 (UTC)

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