REGIONAL VERSUS DETAILED VELOCITY ANALYSIS TO QUANTIFY HYDRATE AND FREE GAS IN MARINE SEDIMENTS: THE SOUTH SHETLAND MARGIN CASE STUDY Tinivella, Umberta; Loreto, Maria F.; Accaino, Flavio
The presence of gas hydrate and free gas within marine sediments, deposited along the South Shetland margin, offshore the Antarctic Peninsula, was confirmed by low and high resolution geophysical data, acquired during three research cruises. Seismic data analysis has revealed the presence of a bottom simulating reflector that is very strong and continuous in the eastern part of the margin. This area can be considered as a useful site to study the seismic characteristics of sediments containing gas hydrate, with a particular focus on the estimation of gas hydrate and free gas amounts in the pore space. Pre-stack depth migration and tomographic inversion were performed to produce a regional velocity field of gas-phase bearing sediments and to obtain information about the average thickness of gas hydrate and free gas layers. Using these data and theoretical models, the gas hydrate and free gas concentrations can be estimated. Moreover, the common image gather semblance analysis revealed the presence of detailed features, such as layers with small thickness characterised by low velocity alternating with high velocity layers, below and above the bottom simulating reflector. These layers are associated with free gas trapped within the hydrate stability zone and deeper sediments. Thus, the use of the detailed and the regional velocity field analysis is important to give a more reliable estimate of gas content in the marine sediments.
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