The stability of gas hydrate field in the northeastern continental slope of Sakhalin Island, Sea of Okhotsk, as inferred from analysis of heat flow data and its implications for slope failures
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- The stability of gas hydrate field in the northeastern continental slope of Sakhalin Island, Sea of Okhotsk, as inferred from analysis of heat flow data and its implications for slope failures
- Kim, Young-Gyun
Jin, Young Keun
- Gas hydrate stability zone; Slope failure; Background heat flow; Sakhalin continental slope; Okhotsk Sea; Arctic; R/V "Akademik M. A. Lavrentyev"
- Issue Date
- Kim, Young-Gyun., et al. 2013. The stability of gas hydrate field in the northeastern continental slope of Sakhalin Island, Sea of Okhotsk, as inferred from analysis of heat flow data and its implications for slope failures. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 45: 198-207.
- The sudden release of methane from seas due to ocean warming and/or sea level drop, leading to
extensive mass wasting at continental margins, has been suggested as a possible cause of global climate
change. In the northeastern continental slope of the Sakhalin Island (Sea of Okhotsk), numerous gas
hydrate-related manifestations have been reported, including hydroacoustic anomaly (gas flare) in the
water column, pockmarks and mounds on the seafloor, seepage structures and bottom-simulating reflectors
(BSRs). The gas hydrate found at 385 mbsl represents the shallowest occurrence ever recorded in
the Okhotsk Sea. In this study, we modeled the gas hydrate stability zone (GHSZ) using methane gas
composition, water temperature and geothermal gradient to see if it is consistent with the observed
depth of the BSR. An important distinction can be made between the seafloor containing seepage features
and normal seafloor in terms of their thermal structure. The depth of the BSR matches well with
the base of GHSZ estimated from the background heat flow (geothermal gradient). A large slope failure
feature is found in the northern Sakhalin continental slope. We explore the possibility that this failure
was caused by gas hydrate dissociation, based on the past climate change history and inference from the
GHSZ calculation. Prediction of the natural landslide is difficult; however, new stratigraphic evidence
from subbottom profiles suggests that the landslide occurred at 20 ka which is roughly consistent with
the late stage of the Last Glacial Maximum.
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