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Bin Liu, Jiangxin Chen, Li Yang, Minliang Duan, Shengxuan Liu, Yongxian Guan, Pengcheng Shu. Multi-beam and seismic investigations of the active Haima cold seeps, northwestern South China Sea[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica. doi: 10.1007/s13131-021-1721-6
Citation: Bin Liu, Jiangxin Chen, Li Yang, Minliang Duan, Shengxuan Liu, Yongxian Guan, Pengcheng Shu. Multi-beam and seismic investigations of the active Haima cold seeps, northwestern South China Sea[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica. doi: 10.1007/s13131-021-1721-6

Multi-beam and seismic investigations of the active Haima cold seeps, northwestern South China Sea

doi: 10.1007/s13131-021-1721-6
Funds:  The Shandong Province “Taishan Scholar” Construction Project; the fund of the Laboratory for Marine Mineral Resources, Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (Qingdao) under contract No. MMRKF201810; the National Natural Science Foundation of China under contract No. 41606077; the National Key R&D Program of China under contract No. 2018YFC0310000.
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  • Corresponding author: E-mail: jiangxin_chen@sina.com
  • Received Date: 2020-10-10
  • Accepted Date: 2020-12-11
  • Available Online: 2021-06-28
  • To confirm the seabed fluid flow at the Haima cold seeps, an integrated study of multi-beam and seismic data reveals the morphology and fate of four bubble plumes and investigates the detailed subsurface structure of the active seepage area. The shapes of bubble plumes are not constant and influenced by the northeastward bottom currents, but the water depth where these bubble plumes disappear (630–650 m below the sea level) (mbsl) is very close to the upper limit of the gas hydrate stability zone in the water column (620 m below the sea level), as calculated from the CTD data within the study area, supporting the “hydrate skin” hypothesis. Gas chimneys directly below the BSRs, found at most sites, are speculated as essential pathways for both thermogenic gas and biogenic gas migrating from deep formations to the gas hydrate stability zone. The fracture network on the top of the basement uplift may be heavily gas-charged, which accounts for the chimney with several kilometers in diameter (beneath Plume B and C). The much smaller gas chimney (beneath Plume D) may stem from gas saturated localized strong permeability zone. High-resolution seismic profiles reveal pipe-like structures, characterized by stacked localized amplitude anomalies, just beneath all the plumes, which act as the fluid conduits conveying gas from the gas hydrate-bearing sediments to the seafloor, feeding the gas plumes. The differences between these pipe-like structures indicate the dynamic process of gas seepage, which may be controlled by the build-up and dissipation of pore pressure. 3D seismic data show high saturated gas hydrates with high RMS amplitude tend to cluster on the periphery of the gas chimney. Understanding the fluid migration and hydrate accumulation pattern of the Haima cold seeps can aid in the further exploration and study on the dynamic gas hydrate system in the South China Sea.
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