We have collected two shallow gas hydrate samples at two sites having different geological settings off southwest Taiwan during the cruise MD214 in 2018. The first core site, MD18-3542, is on the South Yuan-An East Ridge at ~ 1200 m water deep, where a structural unconformity covered by fine-silt sediments appears at ~ 5.5 m below the seafloor. The second core site, MD18-3543, is close to the Good-Weather Ridge at ~ 1100 m water deep, where a gas-related pockmark structure and authigenic carbonates are present at shallow strata with fine-silt sediments near the seafloor. Sediment properties of core MD18-3542 are distinctively different above and below the layer corresponding to the unconformity. Both cores show obvious gaps or voids in the lower core halves. The core features could be linked to the dissociated methane upward migrating from deep strata. Core site settings with upwelling methane would favor the formation of shallow gas hydrates. At site MD18-3542, the shallow hydrate could be formed due to high concentration methane kept beneath the unconformity covered by fine-silt sediments. At site MD18-3543, the shallow hydrate could be formed due to an extremely high flux of upwelling methane trapped either beneath the authigenic carbonates or fine-silt sediments.
17 Feb 2021
Shallow gas hydrates off southwest Taiwan and their mechanisms