GEOCHEMICAL ANOMALY OF PORE WATERS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR GAS HYDRATE OCCURENCE IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA Jiang, Shao-Yong; Yang, Tao; Ge, Lu; Yang, Jing-Hong; Wu, Neng-You; Liu, Jian; Zhang, Guang-Xue; Chen, Dao-Hua
Except for direct drilling and sampling of marine gas hydrates, the occurrence of gas hydrates has been identified generally by inference from indirect evidence, derived from geological, geophysical, and geochemical data. In this paper, we intend to discuss the geochemical anomalies of pore waters and their implications for gas hydrate occurrence in the northern continental slope of the South China Sea. The molecular concentration and isotopic composition of methane in sediments can provide clues to gas sources, whereas ionic and isotopic compositions of pore waters, such as steep SO42- gradients, shallow SMI (sulfate-methane interface) depths; decreasing pore water chlorinity, and heavy oxygen isotopic compositions, are used to identify gas hydrate occurrence and the distribution and thickness of sediment layers containing gas hydrates. Other good geochemical indicators include anions and cations concentrations such as Br-, I-, PO43-, NH4+, Ca2+, Mg2+, Sr2+, B3+, Li+, and Ba2+ in pore waters. We also found that the very negative carbon isotopic compositions of dissolve inorganic carbon (DIC) in pore waters can serve as good indicators for gas hydrate occurrence. In the South China Sea, three most promising target areas for gas hydrates include the Dongsha, Shenhu, and Xisha Trough.
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