Methane hydrate formation in partially water-saturated Ottawa sand
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Bulk properties of gas hydrate-bearing sediment strongly depend on whether hydrate forms primarily in the pore fluid, becomes a load-bearing member of the sediment matrix, or cements sediment grains. Our compressional wave speed measurements through partially water-saturated, methane hydrate-bearing Ottawa sands suggest hydrate surrounds and cements sediment grains. The three Ottawa sand packs tested in the Gas Hydrate And Sediment Test Laboratory Instrument (GHASTLI) contain 38(1)% porosity, initially with distilled water saturating 58, 31, and 16% of that pore space, respectively. From the volume of methane gas produced during hydrate dissociation, we calculated the hydrate concentration in the pore space to be 70, 37, and 20% respectively. Based on these hydrate concentrations and our measured compressional wave speeds, we used a rock physics model to differentiate between potential pore-space hydrate distributions. Model results suggest methane hydrate cements unconsolidated sediment when forming in systems containing an abundant gas phase.
This paper is not subject to U.S. copyright. The definitive version was published in American Mineralogist 89 (2004): 1202-1207.
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