Stern Laura A.

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Laura A.

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  • Article
    Simultaneous determination of thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity and specific heat in sI methane hydrate
    (Blackwell Publishing, 2007-03-11) Waite, William F. ; Stern, Laura A. ; Kirby, S. H. ; Winters, William J. ; Mason, D. H.
    Thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity and specific heat of sI methane hydrate were measured as functions of temperature and pressure using a needle probe technique. The temperature dependence was measured between −20°C and 17°C at 31.5 MPa. The pressure dependence was measured between 31.5 and 102 MPa at 14.4°C. Only weak temperature and pressure dependencies were observed. Methane hydrate thermal conductivity differs from that of water by less than 10 per cent, too little to provide a sensitive measure of hydrate content in water-saturated systems. Thermal diffusivity of methane hydrate is more than twice that of water, however, and its specific heat is about half that of water. Thus, when drilling into or through hydrate-rich sediment, heat from the borehole can raise the formation temperature more than 20 per cent faster than if the formation's pore space contains only water. Thermal properties of methane hydrate should be considered in safety and economic assessments of hydrate-bearing sediment.
  • Article
    Mass fractionation of noble gases in synthetic methane hydrate : implications for naturally occurring gas hydrate dissociation
    (Elsevier B.V., 2012-09-29) Hunt, Andrew G. ; Stern, Laura A. ; Pohlman, John W. ; Ruppel, Carolyn D. ; Moscati, Richard J. ; Landis, Gary P.
    As a consequence of contemporary or longer term (since 15 ka) climate warming, gas hydrates in some settings may presently be dissociating and releasing methane and other gases to the ocean–atmosphere system. A key challenge in assessing the impact of dissociating gas hydrates on global atmospheric methane is the lack of a technique able to distinguish between methane recently released from gas hydrates and methane emitted from leaky thermogenic reservoirs, shallow sediments (some newly thawed), coal beds, and other sources. Carbon and deuterium stable isotopic fractionation during methane formation provides a first-order constraint on the processes (microbial or thermogenic) of methane generation. However, because gas hydrate formation and dissociation do not cause significant isotopic fractionation, a stable isotope-based hydrate-source determination is not possible. Here, we investigate patterns of mass-dependent noble gas fractionation within the gas hydrate lattice to fingerprint methane released from gas hydrates. Starting with synthetic gas hydrate formed under laboratory conditions, we document complex noble gas fractionation patterns in the gases liberated during dissociation and explore the effects of aging and storage (e.g., in liquid nitrogen), as well as sampling and preservation procedures. The laboratory results confirm a unique noble gas fractionation pattern for gas hydrates, one that shows promise in evaluating modern natural gas seeps for a signature associated with gas hydrate dissociation.
  • Article
    Comparison of the physical and geotechnical properties of gas-hydrate-bearing sediments from offshore India and other gas-hydrate-reservoir systems
    (Elsevier, 2014-09-09) Winters, William J. ; Wilcox-Cline, R. W. ; Long, Philip E. ; Dewri, S. K. ; Kumar, P. ; Stern, Laura A. ; Kerr, Louis M.
    The sediment characteristics of hydrate-bearing reservoirs profoundly affect the formation, distribution, and morphology of gas hydrate. The presence and type of gas, porewater chemistry, fluid migration, and subbottom temperature may govern the hydrate formation process, but it is the host sediment that commonly dictates final hydrate habit, and whether hydrate may be economically developed. In this paper, the physical properties of hydrate-bearing regions offshore eastern India (Krishna-Godavari and Mahanadi Basins) and the Andaman Islands, determined from Expedition NGHP-01 cores, are compared to each other, well logs, and published results of other hydrate reservoirs. Properties from the hydrate-free Kerala-Konkan basin off the west coast of India are also presented. Coarser-grained reservoirs (permafrost-related and marine) may contain high gas-hydrate-pore saturations, while finer-grained reservoirs may contain low-saturation disseminated or more complex gas-hydrates, including nodules, layers, and high-angle planar and rotational veins. However, even in these fine-grained sediments, gas hydrate preferentially forms in coarser sediment or fractures, when present. The presence of hydrate in conjunction with other geologic processes may be responsible for sediment porosity being nearly uniform for almost 500 m off the Andaman Islands. Properties of individual NGHP-01 wells and regional trends are discussed in detail. However, comparison of marine and permafrost-related Arctic reservoirs provides insight into the inter-relationships and common traits between physical properties and the morphology of gas-hydrate reservoirs regardless of location. Extrapolation of properties from one location to another also enhances our understanding of gas-hydrate reservoir systems. Grain size and porosity effects on permeability are critical, both locally to trap gas and regionally to provide fluid flow to hydrate reservoirs. Index properties corroborate more advanced consolidation and triaxial strength test results and can be used for predicting behavior in other NGHP-01 regions. Pseudo-overconsolidation is present near the seafloor and is underlain by underconsolidation at depth at some NGHP-01 locations.
  • Article
    Impact of pore fluid chemistry on fine‐grained sediment fabric and compressibility
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-07-17) Jang, Junbong ; Cao, Shuang C. ; Stern, Laura A. ; Kang, Jungwon ; Waite, William F.
    Fines, defined here as grains or particles, less than 75 μm in diameter, exist nearly ubiquitously in natural sediment, even those classified as coarse. Macroscopic sediment properties, such as compressibility, which relates applied effective stress to the resulting sediment deformation, depend on the fabric of fines. Unlike coarse grains, fines have sizes and masses small enough to be more strongly influenced by electrical interparticle forces than by gravity. These electrical forces acting through pore fluids are influenced by pore fluid chemistry changes. Macroscopic property dependence on pore fluid chemistry must be accounted for in sediment studies involving subsurface flow and sediment stability analyses, as well as in engineered flow situations such as groundwater pollutant remediation, hydrocarbon migration, or other energy resource extraction applications. This study demonstrates how the liquid limit‐based electrical sensitivity index can be used to predict sediment compressibility changes due to pore fluid chemistry changes. Laboratory tests of electrical sensitivity, sedimentation, and compressibility illustrate mechanisms linking microscale and macroscale processes for selected pure, end‐member fines. A specific application considered here is methane extraction via depressurization of gas hydrate‐bearing sediment, which causes a dramatic pore water salinity drop concurrent with sediment being compressed by the imposed effective stress increase.