Hester, K. C.; Dunk, R. M.; White, Sheri N.; Brewer, Peter G.; Peltzer, Edward T.; Sloan, E. D.
Oceanic gas hydrates have been measured near the seafloor for the first time using a seagoing Raman spectrometer at Hydrate Ridge, Oregon, where extensive layers of hydrates have been found to occur near the seafloor. All of the hydrates analyzed were liberated from the upper meter of the sediment column near active gas venting sites in water depths of 770-780 m.
Hydrate properties, such as structure and composition, were measured with significantly less disturbance to the sample than would be realized with core recovery. The natural hydrates measured were sI, with methane as the predominant guest component, and minor/trace amounts of hydrogen sulfide present in three of the twelve samples measured. Methane large-to-small cage occupancy ratios of the hydrates varied from 1.01 to 1.30, in good agreement with measurements of laboratory synthesized and recovered natural hydrates.
Although the samples visually appeared to be solid, varying quantities of free methane gas were detected, indicating the presence of occluded gas a hydrate bubble fabric and/or partial hydrate dissociation in the under-saturated seawater.