The phase transformation of methane caused by pressure change during its rising from seepage, revealed by acoustic reflection data

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Shigeharu Aoyama and Chiharu Aoyama, Japan's Independent Institute, Tokyo, Japan
The objective of this survey is to measure acoustical reflection from the methane plumes at close range by utilizing a remotely-operated vehicle, in order to quantify methane gas flux seeping out from shallow methane hydrates in the sea of japan. In the off-Joetsu area, we conducted acoustic survey for methane plumes distribution using quantitative echo sounder (Simrad EK60) and Multi beam echo sounder (SEABAT 8160) installed on R/V Natsushima, and then conducted underwater survey using ROV Hyper-Dolphin in the following methods, 1) Observing seafloor morphology, 2) Measurement methane discharge with a calibrated collecting equipment , 3) Measuring rising speed of methane bubbles with a ruler, 4) Collecting acoustic reflection data using quantitative echo sounder, 5) Observing rising methane bubbles. All processes in the underwater survey were recorded by a HD camera equipped on ROV, and those videos are used for after-cruise analysis. In the underwater survey by ROV, we found three methane plume points and successfully collected acoustic data which would detect each methane bubble. Based on videos and acoustic data obtained in this survey, detailed analysis conducted.