Geo-Marine Letters

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 187–196 | Cite as

Gas migration through Opouawe Bank at the Hikurangi margin offshore New Zealand

  • Stephanie KochEmail author
  • Henning Schroeder
  • Matthias Haeckel
  • Christian Berndt
  • Joerg Bialas
  • Cord Papenberg
  • Dirk Klaeschen
  • Andreia Plaza-Faverola


This study presents 2D seismic reflection data, seismic velocity analysis, as well as geochemical and isotopic porewater compositions from Opouawe Bank on New Zealand’s Hikurangi subduction margin, providing evidence for essentially pure methane gas seepage. The combination of geochemical information and seismic reflection images is an effective way to investigate the nature of gas migration beneath the seafloor, and to distinguish between water advection and gas ascent. The maximum source depth of the methane that migrates to the seep sites on Opouawe Bank is 1,500–2,100 m below seafloor, generated by low-temperature degradation of organic matter via microbial CO2 reduction. Seismic velocity analysis enabled identifying a zone of gas accumulation underneath the base of gas hydrate stability (BGHS) below the bank. Besides structurally controlled gas migration along conduits, gas migration also takes place along dipping strata across the BGHS. Gas migration on Opouawe Bank is influenced by anticlinal focusing and by several focusing levels within the gas hydrate stability zone.


Bottom Simulate Reflection Anticlinal Structure Seep Site Online Electronic Supplementary Material Seismic Reflection Image 
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.



Cruise SO214 NEMESYS Legs 1 and 2 were financed by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) under grant no. 03G0214A. Particular thanks are directed to Captain Oliver Meyer and the entire crew of R/V SONNE for their excellent support throughout the cruise. The Pegasus_19 MCS line was kindly provided to GNS Science by the New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development (MED). We are very thankful to Ingo Pecher, University of Auckland, for establishing collaborations between GNS and Geomar that made possible the use of this Pegasus line in our study. We thank Mads Huuse and Catherine Pierre for their constructive comments.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest with third parties.

Supplementary material

367_2016_441_MOESM1_ESM.docx (337 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 337 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephanie Koch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Henning Schroeder
    • 1
  • Matthias Haeckel
    • 1
  • Christian Berndt
    • 1
  • Joerg Bialas
    • 1
  • Cord Papenberg
    • 1
  • Dirk Klaeschen
    • 1
  • Andreia Plaza-Faverola
    • 2
  1. 1.GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research KielKielGermany
  2. 2.CAGE-Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment, and Climate, Department of GeologyUiT The Arctic University of NorwayTromsøNorway

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