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
Original

Abstract

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.

References

  1. Clark JF, Washburn L, Hornafius JS, Luyendyk BP (2000) Dissolved hydrocarbon flux from natural marine seeps to the southern California Bight. J Geophys Res 105:11,509–11,522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Clift R, Grace JR, Weber ME (1978) Bubbles, drops, and particles. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Cline JD, Holmes ML (1977) Submarine seepage of natural gas in Norton Sound, Alaska. Science 198:1149–1153Google Scholar
  4. Fischer PJ (1978) Oil and tar seeps, Santa Barbara basin, California. In: California offshore gas, oil, and tar seeps. California State Lands Commission, Sacramento, California, pp 1–62Google Scholar
  5. Hornafius JS, Quigley D, Luyendyk BP (1999) The world’s most spectacular marine hydrocarbon seeps (Coal Oil Point, Santa Barbara Channel, California): quantification of emissions. J Geophys Res 104:20,703–20,711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hovland M, Judd AG, Burke RA Jr (1993) The global flux of methane from shallow submarine sediments. Chemosphere 26:559–578Google Scholar
  7. Judd AG, Davies G, Wilson J, Holmes R, Baron G, Bryden I (1997) Contributions to atmospheric methane by natural seepages on the U.K. continental shelf. Mar Geol 140:427–455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Judd AG, Hovland M, Dimitrov LI, Garcia-Gil S, Jukes V (2002) The geological methane budget at continental margins and its influence on climate change. Geofluids 2:109–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kennett JP, Cannariato KG, Hendy IL, Behl RJ (2000) Carbon isotopic evidence for methane hydrate instability during quaternary interstadials. Science 288:128–133PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Kvenvolden KA (1993) Gas hydrates—geological perspective and global change. Rev Geophys 31:173–187Google Scholar
  11. Kvenvolden KA (1995) A review of the geochemistry of methane in natural gas hydrate. Org Geochem 23:997–1008CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kvenvolden KA, Lorenson TD, Reeburgh WS (2001) Attention turns to naturally occurring methane seeps. EOS 82:457Google Scholar
  13. Leifer I, Clark JF (2002) Modeling trace gases in hydrocarbon seep bubbles: application to marine hydrocarbon seeps in the Santa Barbara Channel. Russian Geol Geophys 47:572–579Google Scholar
  14. Leifer I, Judd AJ (2002) Oceanic methane layers: the hydrocarbon seep bubble deposition hypothesis. Terra Nova 16:471–425Google Scholar
  15. Leifer I, MacDonald IR (2003) Dynamics of the gas flux from shallow gas hydrate deposits: interaction between oily hydrate bubbles and the oceanic environment. Earth Planet Sci Lett 210:411–424Google Scholar
  16. Leifer I, Patro RK (2002) The bubble mechanism for methane transport from the shallow sea bed to the surface: a review and sensitivity study. Cont Shelf Res 22:2409–2428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Leifer I, Clark JF, Chen RF (2000) Modifications of the local environment by natural marine hydrocarbon seeps. Geophys Res Lett 27:3711–3714Google Scholar
  18. MacDonald IR, Buthman DB, Sager WW, Peccini MB, Guinasso NL (2000) Pulsed oil discharge from a mud volcano. Geology 28:907–910CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. McDougal TJ (1978) Bubble plumes in stratified environments. J Fluid Mech 4:655–672Google Scholar
  20. NRC (2002) Oil in the sea III: inputs, fates, and effects. National Research Council, National Academy PressGoogle Scholar
  21. Quigley DC, Hornafius JS, Luyendyk BP, Francis RD, Clark J, Washburn L (1999) Decrease in natural marine hydrocarbon seepage near Coal Oil Point, California associated with offshore oil production. Geology 27:1047–1050CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sassen R, Joye S, Sweet ST, DeFreitas DA, Milkov AV, MacDonald IR (1999) Thermogenic gas hydrates and hydrocarbon gases in complex chemosynthetic communities, Gulf of Mexico continental slope. Org Geochem 30:485–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Washburn L, Johnson CG, Gotschalk CC, Egland ET (2001) A gas-capture buoy for measuring bubbling gas flux in oceans and lakes. J Atmos Ocean Technol 18:1411–1420CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations