SEISMIC STRUCTURE, GAS-HYDRATE CONCENTRATIONS, AND SLUMPING ALONG THE IODP X311 TRANSECT ON THE N. CASCADIA MARGIN Lopez, Caroll; He, Tao; Dash, Ranjan; Hyndman, Roy D.; Spence, George D.
On the lower continental slope off Vancouver Island near scientific ocean drilling IODP Site U1326, traveltime modeling along several ocean bottom seismograph (OBS) profiles shows anomalous high velocities of about 2.0 km/s at 70 - 100 m depth (compared to a no-hydrate reference of about 1.6 km/s). These velocities are consistent with the Site U1326 downhole sonic logs that show velocities up to 2.8 km/s near these depths. The drillhole high velocities are interpreted as caused by nearly massive hydrate with concentrations as large as 60-80% of the pore space. The OBS seismic velocities show that high hydrate concentrations of at least 20-30% are laterally extensive out to distances of at least 6 km on either side of the drillhole. A grid of migrated single-channel data shows a sequence of 15- to 75-m-high seafloor scarps, cutting across the ridge perpendicular to the deformation front. These are interpreted as normal faults. Two of the largest fault scarps bound a prominent ~2.5-km-wide slump feature on the steep seaward slope of the frontal ridge. This provides strong evidence that the slump is fault-controlled, and the base of the slump is near the base of hydrate stability suggesting that the slumping is also related to the presence of gas hydrate. At IODP drill Site U1327 on the mid-continental slope, seismic data were recorded along a 1-km-long profile of 10 OBSs. Traveltimes from wide-angle and vertical-incidence arrivals were inverted simultaneously for velocity structure. Corresponding hydrate concentrations increase with depth with an average of about 15% in the 100-m-thick layer above the base of hydrate stability . The seismic structure shows that this local hydrate distribution extends on the kilometer-scale away from the drillhole, as also suggested by multichannel interval velocities in the region. At Site U1328 (Bullseye Vent), seismic images derived from the very high resolution deep-towed DTAGS reflection data show that the top of a zone of high reflectivity, 10-25 m in thickness, extends from the seafloor to a depth of ~30 m. This zone likely corresponds to the shallow region of massive methane hydrate detected in the upper 40 m in the drillhole, and may represent a system of fractures through which fluids and gas pass from the main vent to the seafloor.
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