METHANE BUDGET OF A LARGE GAS HYDRATE PROVINCE OFFSHORE GEORGIA, BLACK SEA Haeckel, Matthias; Reitz, Anja; Klaucke, Ingo
The Batumi Seep Area, offshore Georgia, Black Sea, has been intensively cored (gravity cores and TV-guided multi-cores) to investigate the methane turnover in the surface sediments. The seep area is characterized by vigorous methane gas bubble emanations. Geochemical analyses show a microbial origin of the methane and a shallow fluid source. Anaerobic methane oxidation rapidly consumes the SO4 2- within the top 5-20 cm, but significant upward fluid advection is not indicated by the porewater profiles. Hence, the Batumi Seep Area must be dominated by methane gas seepage in order to explain the required CH4 flux from below. 1-D transport-reaction modelling constrains the methane flux needed to support the observed SO4 2- flux as well as the rate of near-surface hydrate formation. The model results correlate well with the hydro-acoustic backscatter intensities recorded and mapped bubble release sites using the sonar of a ROV.
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