Gas hydrate disturbance fabrics of southern Hydrate Ridge sediments (ODP Leg 204): Relationship with texture and physical properties
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- Piñero, E., Gràcia, E., Martínez-Ruiz, F. et al. Geo-Mar Lett (2007) 27: 279. doi:10.1007/s00367-007-0077-z
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Soupy and mousse-like fabrics are disturbance sedimentary features that result from the dissociation of gas hydrate, a process that releases water. During the core retrieval process, soupy and mousse-like fabrics are produced in the gas hydrate-bearing sediments due to changes in pressure and temperature conditions. Therefore, the identification of soupy and mousse-like fabrics can be used as a proxy for the presence of gas hydrate in addition to other evidence, such as pore water freshening or anomalously cool temperature. We present here grain-size results, mineralogical composition and magnetic susceptibility data of soupy and mousse-like samples from the southern Hydrate Ridge (Cascadia accretionary complex) acquired during Leg 204 of the Ocean Drilling Program. In order to study the relationship between sedimentary texture and the presence of gas hydrates, we have compared these results with the main textural and compositional data available from the same area. Most of the disturbed analyzed samples from the summit and the western flank of southern Hydrate Ridge show a mean grain size coarser than the average mean grain size of the hemipelagic samples from the same area. The depositional features of the sediments are not recognised due to disturbance. However, their granulometric statistical parameters and distribution curves, and magnetic susceptibility logs indicate that they correspond to a turbidite facies. These results suggest that gas hydrates in the southern Hydrate Ridge could form preferentially in coarser grain-size layers that could act as conduits feeding gas from below the BSR. Two samples from the uppermost metres near the seafloor at the summit of the southern Hydrate Ridge show a finer mean grain-size value than the average of hemipelagic samples. They were located where the highest amount of gas hydrates was detected, suggesting that in this area the availability of methane gas was high enough to generate gas hydrates, even within low-permeability layers. The mineralogical composition of the soupy and mousse-like sediments does not show any specific characteristic with respect to the other samples from the southern Hydrate Ridge.