Methane Hydrate and Free Gas on the Blake Ridge from Vertical Seismic Profiling

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Science  27 Sep 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5283, pp. 1840-1843
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5283.1840


Seismic velocities measured in three drill holes through a gas hydrate deposit on the Blake Ridge, offshore South Carolina, indicate that substantial free gas exists to at least 250 meters beneath the bottom-simulating reflection (BSR). Both methane hydrate and free gas exist even where a clear BSR is absent. The low reflectance, or blanking, above the BSR is caused by lithologic homogeneity of the sediments rather than by hydrate cementation. The average methane hydrate saturation above the BSR is relatively low (5 to 7 percent of porosity), which suggests that earlier global estimates of methane in hydrates may be too high by as much as a factor of 3.