Geo-Marine Letters

, Volume 23, Issue 3–4, pp 187–193 | Cite as

Compositional changes in natural gas bubble plumes: observations from the Coal Oil Point marine hydrocarbon seep field

  • Jordan F. Clark
  • Ira Leifer
  • Libe Washburn
  • Bruce P. Luyendyk


Detailed measurements of bubble composition, dissolved gas concentrations, and plume dynamics were conducted during a 9-month period at a very intense, shallow (22-m water depth) marine hydrocarbon seep in the Santa Barbara Channel, California. Methane, carbon dioxide, and heavier hydrocarbons were lost from rising seep bubbles, while nitrogen and oxygen were gained. Within the rising seawater bubble plume, dissolved methane concentrations were more than 4 orders of magnitude greater than atmospheric equilibrium concentrations. Strong upwelling flows were observed and bubble-rise times were ~40 s, demonstrating the rapid exchange of gases within the bubble plume.


Planktonic Foraminifera Plume Water Bubble Plume Upwelling Velocity Upwelling Flow 
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The work could not have been completed without the help of Shane Anderson, Dave Farrar, and Dennis Divins who collected all samples and video images. The paper benefited from discussions with James Kennett and from careful reviews by Keith Kvenvolden and Edward Peltzer. The research was supported by the University of California Energy Institute and the Mineral Management Service (#1435-01-00-CA-31063, Task #18211). This is contribution #0553 of the Institute for Crustal Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jordan F. Clark
    • 1
  • Ira Leifer
    • 2
  • Libe Washburn
    • 3
  • Bruce P. Luyendyk
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  2. 2.Chemical Engineering DepartmentUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  3. 3.Department of GeographyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

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