Geo-Marine Letters

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 235–243 | Cite as

Gas-related sea floor craters in the Barents Sea

  • A. Solheim
  • A. Elverhøi


A cluster of craterlike depressions in the central Barents Sea are several hundred meters across, have steep walls, and are cut into underlying Triassic rocks. Their formation is explained in relation to the glacial history of the region, and a possible model suggests that gas from a deeper, thermogenic source allowed a hydrate layer of considerable thickness to form during the Late Weichselian, when grounded ice covered the area and increased the hydrostatic pressure. After a rapid retreat of the marinebased ice sheet, the hydrates decomposed and the layer thinned rapidly until pressurized free gas, trapped below the hydrates, erupted and formed the sea-floor depressions.


Hydrate Depression Hydrostatic Pressure Hydrate Layer Floor Crater 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aber JS, Croot, DG, and Fenton MM (1989) Glaciotectonic landforms and structures. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 201 ppGoogle Scholar
  2. Alley RB, Blankenship DD, Rooney ST, and Bentley CR (1989) Sedimentation beneath ice shelves—the view from ice stream B. Marine Geology 85:101–120Google Scholar
  3. Andersen BG (1981) Late Weichselian ice sheets in Eurasia and Greenland. In: Denton GH and Hughes TJ (Eds.), The Last Great Ice Sheets. Chichester: Wiley, pp 1–65Google Scholar
  4. Andreassen K, Hogstad K, and Berteussen KA (1990) Gas hydrate in the southern Barents Sea, indicated by a shallow seismic anomaly. First Break 8:235–245Google Scholar
  5. Anonymous (1988) Offshore permafrost in the Barents Sea. IKU NEWS 3, 4 ppGoogle Scholar
  6. Antonsen P, Elverhøi A, Dypvik H, and Solheim A (1991) Shallow bedrock geology of the Olga Basin area, northwestern Barents Sea. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin 75:1178–1194Google Scholar
  7. Bluemle JP (1970) Anomalous hills and associated depressions in central North Dakota. Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs 2:325–326Google Scholar
  8. Boulton GS (1979) Glacial history of the Spitsbergen archipelago and the problem of the Barents Shelf ice sheet. Boreas 8:31–57Google Scholar
  9. Boulton GS, and Jones AS (1979) Stability of temperate ice caps and ice sheets resting on beds of deformable sediment. Journal of Glaciology 24:29–42Google Scholar
  10. Bryant WR and Roemer LB (1983) Structure of the continental shelf and slope of the northern Gulf of Mexico and its geohazards and engineering constraints. In: Geyer RA and Moore JR (Eds.), CRC Handbook of Geophysical Exploration at Sea. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, pp 123–185Google Scholar
  11. Clayton L and Moran SR (1974) A glacial process-form model. In: Coates DR (Ed.), Glacial Geomorphology. Binghamton, New York: SUNY-Binghamton Publications in Geomorphology, pp 89–119Google Scholar
  12. Denton GH and Hughes TJ (1981) The Arctic ice sheet: An outrageous hypothesis. In: Denton GH and Hughes TJ (Eds.), The Last Great Ice Sheets. New York: Wiley, pp 437–467Google Scholar
  13. Dillon WP and Paull CK (1983) Marine gas hydrates, 2, Geophysical evidence. In: Cox JL (Ed.), Natural Gas Hydrates: Properities, Occurrences and Recovery. Boston: Butterworth, pp 73–90Google Scholar
  14. Elverhøi A and Solheim A (1983) The Barents Sea ice sheet—a sedimentological discussion. Polar Research, 1 (new series): 23–42Google Scholar
  15. Elverhøi A and Solheim A (1987) Late Weichselian glaciation of the northern Barents Sea—a discussion. Polar Research 5 (new series): 285–287Google Scholar
  16. Elverhøi A, Antonsen P, Flood SB, Solheim A, and Vullstad AA (1988) The physical environment, western Barents Sea 1:1,500 000, Shallow bedrock geology. Norsk Polarinstitutt Skrifter 179D:32 ppGoogle Scholar
  17. Elverhøi A Pfirman SL, Solheim A, and Larssen BB (1989) Glaciomarine sedimentation in epicontinental seas exemplified by the northern Barents Sea. Marine Geology 85:225–250Google Scholar
  18. Elverhøi A, Nyland-Berg M, Russwurm L, and Solheim A (1990) Late Weichselian ice recession in the central Barents Sea. In: Bleil U and Thiede J (Eds.), Geological History of the Polar Oceans: Arctic versus Antarctic. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp 289–307Google Scholar
  19. Forman SL, Mann DH, and Miller GH (1987) Late Weichselian and Holocene relative sea-level history of Brøggerhalvøya, Spitsbergen. Quaternary Research 27:41–50Google Scholar
  20. Forsberg CF (1983) Sedimentation and early diagenesis of the late Quaternary deposits in the central Barents Sea. Unpublished thesis, University of Oslo, 120 ppGoogle Scholar
  21. Gault DE and Sonett CP (1982) Laboratory simulation of pelagic asteroidal impact: Atmospheric injection, benthic topography, and the surface wave radiation field. In: Silver LT and Schultz PH (Eds.), Geological implications of impacts of large asteroids and comets on the Earth. Geological Society of America Special Paper 190:69–92Google Scholar
  22. Grosswald MG (1980) Late Weichselian ice sheet of northern Eurasia. Quaternary Research 13:1–32Google Scholar
  23. Harrington PK (1985) Formation of pockmarks by pore-water escape. Geo-Marine Letters 5:193–197Google Scholar
  24. Hovland M and Judd AG (1988) Seabed Pockmarks and Seepages. London: Graham and Trotman, 293 ppGoogle Scholar
  25. Hughes TJ, Denton GH, Andersen BG, Schilling DH, Fastook JL, and Lingle CS (1981) The last great ice sheets: A global view. In: Denton GH and Hughes TJ (Eds.), The Last Great Ice Sheets. Chichester: Wiley, pp 1–65Google Scholar
  26. Jones GA and Keigwin LD (1988) Evidence from Fram Strait (78°N) for early deglaciation. Nature 336:56–59Google Scholar
  27. Løvø V, Elverhøi A, Antonsen P, Solheim A, Butenko G, Gregersen O, and Liestøl O (1990) Submarine permafrost and gas hydrates in the northern Barents Sea. Norsk Polarinstitutt Rapportserie 56:171 ppGoogle Scholar
  28. Matishov GG (1980) Geomorphological indications of the impact of the Scandinavian, Novaja Zemlya, and the Spitsbergen ice cover upon the bottom of the Barents Sea. (Geomorfologicskie priznaki vozdejstvija Skandivavskogo, Novo-zemelskogo, Spicbergenskogo lednikovych pokrovov na poverchnostdna Baranceva morja.) Okeanologija 20:669–680Google Scholar
  29. McKinnon W-B (1982) Impact into the Earth's ocean floor: Preliminary experiments, a planetary model, and possibilities for detection. In: Silver LT and Schultz PH (Eds.), Geological implications of impacts of large asteroids and comets on the Earth. Geological Society of America Special Paper, 190:129–142Google Scholar
  30. Melosh HJ (1989) Impact cratering—a geologic process. New York: Oxford University Press, 245 ppGoogle Scholar
  31. Nyland Berg M (1991) Sedimentologiske og geofysiske undersøkelser av sen-kenozoiske sedimenter på sydøstskråningen av Spitsbergenbanken, det nordlige Barentshav. Unpublished thesis, University of Olso, 203 ppGoogle Scholar
  32. Prior DB, Doyle EH, and Kaluza MJ (1989) Evidence for sediment eruption on deep sea floor, Gulf of Mexico. Science 243:517–519Google Scholar
  33. Russwurm L (1990) Sedimentologiske og geofysiske undersøkelser av sen-kvartære sedimenter, nordlige Barentshav. Unpublished thesis, University of Oslo, 182 ppGoogle Scholar
  34. Sættem J (1990) Glacitectonic forms and structures on the Norwegian continental shelf: Observations, processes and implications. Norsk Geologisk Tidsskrift 70:81–94Google Scholar
  35. Salvigsen O (1981) Radiocarbon dated raised beaches in Kong Karls Land, Svalbard, and their consequences for the glacial history of the Barents Sea area. Geografiska Annaler 63:283–291Google Scholar
  36. Schytt V, Hoppe G, Blake W Jr, and Grosswald MG (1968) The extent of the Wurm glaciation in the European Arctic. International Association of Scientific Hydrology Publication 79:207–216Google Scholar
  37. Solheim A (1991) The depositional environment of surging sub-polar tidewater glaciers: A case study of the morphology, sedimentation and sediment properties in a surge-affected marine basin outside Nordaustlandet, northern Barents Sea. Norsk Polarinstitutt Skrifter 194:97 ppGoogle Scholar
  38. Solheim A and Elverhøi A (1985) A pcckmark field in the central Barents Sea; gas from a petrogenic source? Polar Research 3 (new series): 11–19Google Scholar
  39. Solheim A, Elverhøi A, and Finnekåsa Ø (1988a) Marine geophysical/ geological cruise in the northern Barents Sea 1987—cruise report. Norsk Polarinstitutt Rapportserie 43:113 ppGoogle Scholar
  40. Solheim A and Kristoffersen Y (1984) The physical environment, Western Barents Sea; Sediments above the upper regional unconformity: Thickness, seismic stratigraphy and outline of the glacial history. Norsk Polarinstitutt Skrifter 179B:26 ppGoogle Scholar
  41. Solheim A, Milliman JD, and Elverhøi A (1988b) Sediment distribution and sea floor morphology of Storbanken; Implications for the glacial history of the northern Barents Sea. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 25:547–556Google Scholar
  42. Solheim A, Russwurm L, Elverhøi A, and Nyland Berg M (1990) Glacial geomorphic features in the northern Barents sea: Direct evidence for grounded ice and implications for the pattern of deglaciation and late glacial sedimentation. In: Dowdeswell JA and Scourse JD (Eds.), Glacimarine environments: Processes and sediments. Geological Society of London Speical Publication 53:253–268Google Scholar
  43. Vorren TO and Kristoffersen Y (1986) Late Quaternary glaciation in the south-western Barents Sea. Boreas 15:51–59.Google Scholar
  44. Vorren TO, Hald M, and Lebesbye E (1988) Late Cenozoic environments in the Barents Sea. Paleoceanography 3:601–612.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Solheim
    • 1
  • A. Elverhøi
    • 2
  1. 1.Norwegian Polar InstituteOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of GeologyUniversity of OsloOslo 3Norway

Personalised recommendations