Gas occurrence and shallow conduit systems in the Western Sea of Marmara: a review and new acoustic evidence

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Saritas H., ÇİFCİ G., Geli L., Thomas Y., Marsset B., Henry P., ...More

GEO-MARINE LETTERS, vol.38, no.5, pp.385-402, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 38 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00367-018-0547-5
  • Journal Name: GEO-MARINE LETTERS
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.385-402
  • Keywords: Shallow gas, Gas conduit systems, Mud volcano, Pockmark, 2D-3D seismic, Western High, Sea of Marmara, NORTH ANATOLIAN FAULT, MUD VOLCANOS, TECTONIC EVOLUTION, FLUID MIGRATION, ACTIVE FAULTS, THRACE BASIN, METHANE, MULTIBEAM, ZONE, HYDROCARBON
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Based on 3D and 2D high-resolution multichannel seismic reflection data in the Western High-Sea of Marmara, this study reviews shallow gas occurrence and related structures and classifies gas conduit systems within the upper, few hundred meter-thick sediment layers below the seafloor. Acoustic anomalies including high amplitude-reverse polarity reflections (bright spots), low amplitude transparent zones, chaotic or discontinuous reflections, pull-down effects, and plumes in the water column are interpreted in terms of natural gas occurrence and fluid flow structures (e.g., mud volcanoes, pockmarks). The gas occurrence is thought to be mostly of thermogenic origin. Mud volcanoes are one of the primary gas conduits forming craters on the seabed due to overpressure of fluidized gassy sediment flows. Following the reach of the Northern Branch of the North Anatolian Fault (NAF-N) to the Western High, the thermogenic fluids are believed to migrate vertically and horizontally to shallow depths mainly through the faults. Natural gas most probably originates from the Thrace Basin Eocene source rock or the Eocene-Oligocene reservoir rock, which extends below the Western High. Shallow gas is distributed by minor faults and gas pipes. Gas, to some extent, emanates from the seafloor via pockmarks and mud volcanoes or is trapped by the crests of the anticlines coinciding with erosional surfaces, impermeable sediments, and gas hydrate-bearing layers. Shallow traps below the tectonized "Western High" structure are likely located in thin layers of sands imbedded with impermeable silty clay layers. However, there is no shallow reservoir in the usual sense within the upper layers imaged by the 3D seismic data (< 300 ms two-way travel time). The existence of gas is an indicator of hydrocarbon-rich layers at depth and of active tectonics, and it also impacts the global climate and marine life conditions.