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Assessing submarine gas hydrate at active seeps on the Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand, using controlled source electromagnetic data with constraints from seismic, geochemistry, and heatflow data
Schwalenberg, K.; Haeckel, M.; Pecher, I.A.; Toulmin, S. J.; Hamdan, L. J.; Netzeband, G.; Wood, W.; Poort, J.; Jegen, M. D.; Coffin, R. B. (2009). Assessing submarine gas hydrate at active seeps on the Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand, using controlled source electromagnetic data with constraints from seismic, geochemistry, and heatflow data. Eos, Trans. (Wash. D.C.) 90(52): OS43C-03
In: Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union. American Geophysical Union: Washington, etc.. ISSN 0096-3941, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 
Document type: Meeting report

Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Schwalenberg, K.
  • Haeckel, M.
  • Pecher, I.A.
  • Toulmin, S. J.
  • Hamdan, L. J.
  • Netzeband, G.
  • Wood, W.
  • Poort, J., more
  • Jegen, M. D.
  • Coffin, R. B.

Abstract
    Electrical resistivity is one of the key properties useful for evaluating submarine gas hydrate deposits. Gas hydrates are electrically insulating in contrast to the conductive pore fluid. Where they form in sufficient quantities the bulk resistivity of the sub-seafloor is elevated. CSEM data were collected in 2007 as part of the German - International “New Vents” project on R/V Sonne, cruise SO191, at three target areas on the Hikurangi subduction margin, New Zealand. The margin is characterized by widespread bottom simulating reflectors (BSR), seep structures, and active methane and fluid venting indicating the potential for gas hydrate formation. Opouawe Bank is one of the ridge and basin systems on the accretionary wedge and is located off the Wairarapa coast at water depths of 1000-1100 m. The first observed seep sites (North Tower, South Tower, Pukeko, Takahe, and Tui) were identified from individual gas flares in hydro-acoustic data and video observations during voyages on R/V Tangaroa. Seismic reflection data collected during SO191 subsequently identified more than 25 new seep structures. Two intersecting CSEM profiles have been surveyed across North Tower, South Tower, and Takahe. 1-D inversion of the data reveals anomalously high resistivities at North Tower and South Tower, moderately elevated resistivities at Takahe, and normal background resistivities away from the seeps. The high resistivities are attributed to gas hydrate layers at intermediate depths beneath the seeps. At South Tower the hydrate concentration could be possibly as much as 25% of the total sediment volume within a 50m thick layer. This conforms with geochemical pore water analyses which show a trend of increased methane flux towards South Tower. At Takahe, gas pockets and patchy gas hydrate, as well as sediment heterogeneities and carbonates, or temperature driven upward fluid flow indicated by the observed higher heat flow at this site may explain the resistivity pattern. Porangahau Ridge is located further north on the margin in water depths of 1900-2000m. A high amplitude reflection zone extending from the BSR around 700mbsf towards the seafloor has been observed at the western flank of the ridge. This is attributed to local shoaling at the base of the hydrate stability zone caused by upward migrating warm fluids. A CSEM profile was surveyed across the same seismic line. The data reveal a pronounced resistivity anomaly at the western rim suggesting a zone of concentrated gas hydrate above the reflection band. Heat flow and geochemistry data collected along the same transect show concave temperature profiles indicating mildly advective heat flow and massive gas and fluid transport on the western flank, particularly at the location where the resistivity anomaly has been observed.

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