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Residual concentrations and distributions of hydrocarbon gases from methane to n-heptane were measured in sediments at seven sites on Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Leg 164. Three sites were drilled at the Cape Fear Diapir of the Carolina Rise, and one site was drilled on the Blake Ridge Diapir. Methane concentrations at these sites result from microbial generation which is influenced by the amount of pore-water sulfate and possible methane oxidation. Methane hydrate was found at the Blake Ridge Diapir site. The other hydrocarbon gases at these sites are likely the produce of early microbial processes. Three sites were drilled on a transect of holes across the crest of the Blake Ridge. The base of the zone of gas-hydrate occurrence was penetrated at all three sites. Trends in hydrocarbon gas distributions suggest that methane is microbial in origin and that the hydrocarbon gas mixture is affected by diagenesis, outgassing, and, near the surface, by microbial oxidation. Methane hydrate was recovered at two of these three sites, although gas hydrate is likely present at all three sites. The method used here for determining amounts of residual hydrocarbon gases has its limitations and provides poor assessment of gas distributions, particularly in the stratigraphic interval below about ~ 100 mbsf. One advantage of the method, however, is that it yields sufficient quantities of gas for other studies such as isotopic determinations.
Additional Publication Details
Methane and other hydrocarbon gases in sediment from the southeastern North American continental margin