Geo-Marine Letters

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 53–62 | Cite as

Geophysical and geochemical observations on actively seeping hydrocarbon gases on the south-eastern Yellow Sea continental shelf

  • K. S. Jeong
  • J. H. Cho
  • S. R. Kim
  • S. Hyun
  • U. Tsunogai


In the southeastern Yellow Sea, active seepage of hydrocarbon gases has been observed by high-resolution (3.5 kHz) seismic profiling both in 1987 and 2001, occurring through a large number of plumes from the topmost pre-Holocene sedimentary layer. It is strong enough to compensate for current speed, extending vertically up to the sea surface. The gas seepage often appears to be explosive to form craters and diapirs, although pockmarks are rare due to the redistribution of mobile palimpsest sands. In core-top seawater and sediments, the gases are characterized by high amounts of C2, homogenous δ13C1 values and a large difference (19.7‰ on average) between δ13C1 (−55.2 to −53.6‰ PDB) and δ13C2 (−36.8 to −32.5‰ PDB) values. The gases are considered to be generated with a smaller amount of C1 at the early thermal cracking stage of labile source materials, after which the C2 gas is enriched in 13C by diffusion or biological alternation at the generation or accumulation site. The homogenous δ13C1 values may be one of the geochemical characteristics of gases acquired at depth which are less altered in the case of rapid diffusive gas migration to the seafloor.


Total Organic Carbon Seismic Profile Kuroshio Current Diapiric Structure Acoustic Anomaly 
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.



We would like to express our appreciation to the officers and crew of the Eardo, a research vessel of the KORDI, and researchers for their help to collect samples during the fieldwork. The help of Dr. G.S. Huh at the KRISS and researchers at Hokkaido University for the analysis of gases is appreciated. We are also grateful to Dr. B. Flemming and anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments in revising the manuscript. This study was funded by the KORDI.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. S. Jeong
    • 1
  • J. H. Cho
    • 1
  • S. R. Kim
    • 1
  • S. Hyun
    • 2
  • U. Tsunogai
    • 3
  1. 1.Marine Geoenvironment & Resources Research DivisionKorea Ocean Research and Development InstituteSeoulKorea
  2. 2.Environmental Science Laboratory, South Sea InstituteKorea Ocean Research and Development InstituteJangmok-Ri Jangmok-Myun Koje-ShiKorea
  3. 3.Division of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Graduate School of ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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