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Evaluation of gas hydrate deposits in an active seep area using marine controlled source electromagnetics: Results from Opouawe Bank, Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand
Schwalenberg, K.; Haeckel, M.; Poort, J.; Jegen, M. (2010). Evaluation of gas hydrate deposits in an active seep area using marine controlled source electromagnetics: Results from Opouawe Bank, Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand. Mar. Geol. 272(1-4): 79-88. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2009.07.006
In: Marine Geology. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 0025-3227; e-ISSN 1872-6151, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    marine CSEM; gas hydrate; methane seeps; Hikurangi Margin; New Zealand

Auteurs  Top 
  • Schwalenberg, K.
  • Haeckel, M.
  • Poort, J.
  • Jegen, M.

Abstract
    Several known gas seep sites along the Hikurangi Margin off the east coast of New Zealand were surveyed by marine controlled source electromagnetic (CSEM) experiments. A bottom-towed electric dipole–dipole system was used to reveal the occurrence of gas hydrate and methane related to the seeps. The experiments were part of the international multidisciplinary research program “New Vents” carried out on German R/V Sonne in 2007 (cruise SO191) to study key parameters controlling the release and transformation of methane from marine cold vents and shallow gas hydrate deposits. Two CSEM lines have been surveyed over known seep sites on Opouawe Bank in the Wairarapa region off the SE corner of the North Island. The data have been inverted to sub-seafloor apparent resistivity profiles and one-dimensional layered models. Clearly anomalous resistivities are coincident with the location of two gas seep sites, North Tower and South Tower on Opouawe Bank. A layer of concentrated gas hydrate within the uppermost 100mbelowthe seafloor is likely to cause the anomalous resistivities, but free gas and thick carbonate crusts may also play a role. Seismic data show evidence of fault related venting which may also indicate the distribution of gas hydrates and/or authigenic carbonate. Geochemical profiles indicate an Increase of methane flux and the formation of gas hydrate in the shallow sediment section around the seep sites. Takahe is another seep site in the area where active venting, higher heat flow, shallow gas hydrate recovered from cores, and seismic fault planes, but only moderately elevated resistivities have been observed. The reasons could be a) the gas hydrate concentration is too low, even though methane venting is evident, b) strong temporal or spatial variation of the seep activity, and c) the thermal anomaly indicates rather temperature driven fluid expulsion that hampers the formation of gas hydrate beneath the vent.

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