Widespread occurrence of methane seeps in deep-water regions of Krishna-Godavari basin, Bay of Bengal

Type Article
Date 2021-02
Language English
Author(s) Dewangan P.1, Sriram G.1, Kumar A.1, Mazumdar A.1, Peketi A.1, Mahale V.1, Reddy S.S.C.1, Babu A.1
Affiliation(s) 1 : CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula, Goa, 403004, India
Source Marine And Petroleum Geology (0264-8172) (Elsevier BV), 2021-02 , Vol. 124 , P. 104783 (12p.)
DOI 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2020.104783
WOS© Times Cited 10
Keyword(s) Gas hydrates, Methane flares, Cold seeps, Shale tectonism, BSR, Seismic chimneys

Drilling/coring activities during NGHP-Expeditions 01 and 02 discovered significant gas hydrate deposits in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin, a proven petroliferous basin located along the eastern continental margin of India. Active and paleo-cold seeps are also reported from deep waters (>1000 m), indicating methane venting episodes in the KG basin. In the present study, we analyzed geophysical data acquired onboard RV Sindhu Sadhana to study the spatial distribution of gas flares in the KG offshore basin. Twenty-two gas flares were observed in water-column images at seafloor depths ranging from 638 m to 1960 m. All flares except one are detected within the gas hydrate stability zone (GHSZ), which occurs beyond 700–720 m water depth. Most gas flares seem to terminate at these depths, indicating that the bubbles might be coated with a thin methane hydrate skin. Seabed sampling of flare regions shows the presence of chemosynthetic communities and shallow gas hydrates within 2–4 mbsf.

The spatial distribution of gas flares is not random and tends to align with the toe-thrust zones and shale diapiric mounds. These compressive structures formed due to shale tectonism in the KG basin have provided an environment conducive for the formation of gas hydrate deposits and gas flares/cold seeps. The analysis of high-resolution seismic data across the flares shows the presence of seismic chimneys and faults, which facilitated migration of deep-seated fluid/gas through the GHSZ. Focused fluid flow along the fault zone and the perturbation of methane + seawater phase curve due to salinity increase owing to the continuous formation of methane hydrate are the most likely mechanisms to explain methane gas migration.

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