SEISMIC REFLECTION BLANK ZONES IN THE ULLEUNG BASIN, OFFSHORE KOREA, ASSOCIATED WITH HIGH CONCENTRATIONS OF GAS HYDRATE Stoian, Iulia; Park, Keun-Pil; Yoo, Dong-Geun; Haacke, R. Ross; Hyndman, Roy D.; Riedel, Michael; Spence, George D.
It has recently been recognized that abundant gas hydrates occur in localized zones of upwelling fluids, with concentrations much higher than in regional distributions associated with bottomsimulating reflectors (BSRs). We report a study of multi-channel seismic reflection data across such structures in the Ulleung Basin, East Sea backarc offshore Korea, an area with few BSRs. The structures are commonly up to several km across and a few hundred meters in depth extent, and are characterized by reduced reflectivity and bowed-up sediment reflectors on time-migrated sections. The seismic pull-up mainly results from higher velocities, although physical deformation due to folding and faulting is not ruled out. Some of the features extend upward close to the seafloor and others only partway through the gas hydrate stability zone. The base of gas hydrate stability zone (BGHSZ), calculated assuming a regional average constant heat flow of 110 mW/m2, is confirmed by the presence of gas inferred from reduced instantaneous frequencies and high instantaneous amplitudes, and from a decrease in seismic velocities. The vents are fed by upward migrating free gas or gas-rich fluids through near-vertical conduits probably due to regional, upward fluid flow caused by tectonic compression of the basin.
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