Velocity Structure of a Gas Hydrate Reflector

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Science  09 Apr 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5105, pp. 204-207
DOI: 10.1126/science.260.5105.204


Seismic reflection profiles across many continental margins have imaged bottom-simulating reflectors (BSRs) parallel to the seabed; these are often interpreted as the base of a zone in which methane hydrate "ice" is stable. Waveform inversion of seismic reflection data can be used to estimate from seismic data worldwide the velocity structure of a BSR and its thickness. A test of this method at a drill site of the Ocean Drilling Program predicts that sediment pores beneath the BSR contain free methane for approximately 30 meters. The hydrate and underlying gas represent a large global reservoir of methane, which may have economic importance and may influence global climate.