Gas hydrate pingoes: Deep seafloor evidence of focused fluid flow on continental margins

Christophe Serie, Christophe Serié, Mads Huuse, Niels H. Schødt

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Gas hydrates in the shallow subsurface form one of the largest reservoirs of methane in the global organic carbon cycle. Seafloor seeps and associated features represent the venting points of methane released from the shallow lithosphere to the hydrosphere and atmosphere. Here we document the discovery of seep-related seafloor mounds in the Kwanza Basin, offshore Angola, and employ high-resolution three-dimensional seismic analysis to unravel the subsurface plumbing system and the origin of mounds. Mounds with distinct morphologies and geophysical signatures illustrate different development stages associated with the formation and dissociation of shallow gas hydrate, linked to thermogenic fluid migration along salt diapir flanks draining deeply buried salt minibasins. The mounds are more than an order of magnitude larger than previously described submarine hydrate pingoes, and comparable to hydraulic pingoes commonly found in terrestrial periglacial environments, suggesting hydrate volumes of individual mounds up to 1.1 × 106 m3 (equivalent to 2.0 × 108 m3 of methane gas). The interpretation of seismically well-defined seep-related seafloor mounds brings new insight to the occurrence and development of concentrated near-surface gas hydrate accumulations and their relationship with thermogenic fluid migration and host sediment properties along continental margins. © 2012 Geological Society of America.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)207-210
    Number of pages3
    JournalGeology
    Volume40
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012

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