Seismic characterisation of multiple BSRs in the eastern black sea basin

Monteleone, Vanessa; Minshull, Tim A.; Marin-Moreno, Hector. 2023 Seismic characterisation of multiple BSRs in the eastern black sea basin. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 106604.

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Long offset seismic reflection data reveal the presence of four Bottom Simulating Reflectors (BSR0-3) within folded sediments of the Tuapse Trough, along the NE margin of the Eastern Black Sea Basin (EBSB). Multiple BSRs are observed in other sites worldwide, however, their origin and formation mechanisms are still debated. Here, we investigate the formation mechanisms of the EBSB multiple BSRs based on their seismic character and on their physical properties derived from reflected and refracted arrival seismic velocities. Seismic reflection data are downward continued to enhance refracted arrivals. A 2D travel-time velocity model of the sub-seabed, using combined travel-times from non-downward-continued reflected and downward-continued refracted signals, shows variations in the physical properties at the BSRs and nearby sediments. The P-wave velocity (VP) increase of 1.55–1.72 km/s between the seafloor and BSR0 (258 mbsf) reflects normal compaction trends in sediments, whereas the VP of 1.75–1.83 km/s between BSR0 and BSR1 (360 mbsf) is higher than that expected for sediments at that depth. Beneath BSR1, a VP decrease from 1.83 km/s to 1.61 km/s occurs within a 70-80 m-thick layer including BSR2 (395 mbsf) and extending to BSR3 (438 mbsf). Beneath BSR3, VP increases. Based on an analytical model linking seismic velocity to physical properties, these VP trends can be explained by a gas hydrate saturation from 0 to 2% between the seafloor and BSR0, reaching 4 ± 2% just above BSR1. A free gas saturation of up to 20–25% is estimated within the low-velocity zone between BSR1 and BSR3. BSR1 likely represents the present-day base of the gas hydrate stability zone (BGHSZ), which aligns with the theoretical BGHSZ assuming a geothermal gradient of 26–30 °C/km. Based on seismic polarities and results from travel-time analysis and rock physics modelling, we suggest that hydrate dissociation and recycling processes may explain the negative polarity of BSR2 and BSR3, which are still visible due to the presence of relict gas, and inferred higher gas hydrate saturations close to the present-day base of the stability zone at BSR1. Also, structural and stratigraphic controls seem to have favoured focused free gas flow and hydrate formation at the top of an anticlinal structure, thus likely controlling multiple BSR generation in the EBSB.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 02648172
Date made live: 18 Dec 2023 15:43 +0 (UTC)

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