Modelling of Gas Hydrate Dissociation During The Glacial-Inter-glacial Cycles, Case Study The Chatham Rise, New Zealand

Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Paul Oluwunmi1, Ingo Andreas Pecher1, Rosalind Archer1, George J Moridis2 and Matthew T Reagan2, (1)University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand, (2)Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, United States
Seafloor depressions covering an area of >20,000 km2 on the Chatham Rise, south east of New Zealand, have been interpreted as pockmarks which are related to past fluid releases. It is proposed that the seafloor depressions were caused by sudden escape of overpressured gas generated by gas hydrate dissociation during glacial sea-level lowering. We are attempting to simulate the evolution of the gas hydrate system through glacial-interglacial cycles in the study area using TOUGH-Hydrate. The Chatham Rise offers a unique opportunity for studying the effect of depressurization from sealevel lowering to gas hydrate systems because it is a bathymetric barrier preventing the Subtropical Front separating subtropical and subantarctic waters from migrating during glacial-interglacial cycles. Hence, bottom-water temperatures can be assumed to remain constant. Recent results from paleoceanographic studies however, indicate that bottom-temperature may have varied locally. These temperature changes may have a more significant effect on the shallow gas hydrate system in the study area than the relatively gradual decrease of pressure associated with sealevel lowering.