In the northern Gulf of Mexico, a series of seafloor mounds lie along the floor of the Mississippi Canyon in Atwater Valley lease blocks 13 and 14. The mounds, one of which was drilled by the Chevron Joint Industry Project on Methane Hydrates in 2005, are interpreted to be vent-related features that may contain significant accumulations of gas hydrate adjacent to gas and fluid migration pathways. The mounds are located ???150 km south of Louisiana at ???1300 m water depth. New side-scan sonar data, multibeam bathymetry, and near-bottom photography along a 4 km northwest-southeast transect crossing two of the mounds (labeled D and F) reveal the mounds' detailed morphology and surficial characteristics. Mound D, ???250 m in diameter and 7-10 m in height, has exposures of authigenic carbonates and appears to result from a seafloor vent of slow-to-moderate flux. Mound F, which is ???400 m in diameter and 10-15 m high, is covered on its southwest flank by extruded mud flows, a characteristic associated with moderate-to-rapid flux. Chemosynthetic communities visible on the bottom photographs are restricted to bacterial mats on both mounds and mussels at Mound D. No indications of surficial gas hydrates are evident on the bottom photographs.
Additional Publication Details
A photographic and acoustic transect across two deep-water seafloor mounds, Mississippi Canyon, northern Gulf of Mexico