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Simulations of methane hydrate phenomena over geologic timescales; Part I, Effect of sediment compaction rates on methane hydrate and free gas accumulations

Simulations of methane hydrate phenomena over geologic timescales; Part I, Effect of sediment compaction rates on methane hydrate and free gas accumulations

Earth and Planetary Science Letters 206(1-2): 65-81

The focus of this work is a model that describes migration and biogenic formation of methane under conditions representative of dynamic marine basins, and the conversion of soluble methane into either solid hydrate or exsolved gas. Incorporated into the overall model are an accurate phase equilibria model for seawater-methane, a methane source term based on biogenesis data, and a sediment compaction model based on porosity as a function of position, time, and the local volume fractions of hydrate solids and free gas. Simulations have shown that under some compaction scenarios, liquid overpressures reach the lithostatic limit due to permeability constraints, which can diminish the advective transfer of soluble methane within the porous sediment. As such, the formation of methane hydrate can be somewhat of a self-moderating process. The occurrence and magnitude of hydrate formation is directly tied to fundamental parameters such as the compaction/sedimentation rates, liquid advection rates, seafloor depth, geothermal gradient, etc. Results are shown for simulations covering 20 million years, wherein growth profiles for methane hydrate and free gas (neither exceeding 10 vol% at any location) are tracked within a vertical sediment column spanning over 3000 m. A case study is also presented for the Blake Ridge region (Ocean Drilling Program Leg 164, Sites 994, 995, and 997) based on simulations covering 6 Ma, wherein it is concluded that methane migration from compaction-driven advection may account for 15-30% of the total hydrate mass present in this region.

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Accession: 020024120

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DOI: 10.1016/s0012-821x(02)01075-0

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