New coring data have been acquired along the western Gulf of Lions showing anomalous concentrations of methane (up to 95,700 ppm) off the Rho??ne prodelta and the head of the southern canyons Lacaze-Duthiers and Cap de Creus. Sediment cores were acquired with box and kasten cores during 2004-2005 on several EuroSTRATAFORM cruises. Anomalous methane concentrations are discussed and integrated with organic carbon data. Sampled sites include locations where previous surveys identified acoustic anomalies in high-resolution seismic profiles, which may be related to the presence of gas. Interpretation of the collected data has enabled us to discuss the nature of shallow gas along the Gulf of Lions, and its association with recent sedimentary dynamics. The Rho??ne prodelta flood deposits deliver significant amounts of terrigenous organic matter that can be rapidly buried, effectively removing this organic matter from aerobic oxidation and biological uptake, and leading to the potential for methanogenesis with burial. Away from the flood-related sediments off the Rho??ne delta, the organic matter is being reworked and remineralized on its way along the western coast of the Gulf of Lions, with the result that the recent deposits in the canyon contain little reactive carbon. In the southernmost canyons, Lacaze-Duthiers and Cap de Creus, the gas analyses show relatively little shallow gas in the core samples. Samples with anomalous gas (up to 5,000 ppm methane) are limited to local areas where the samples also show higher amounts of organic matter. The anomalous samples at the head of the southern canyons may be related to methanogenesis of recent drape or of older sidewall canyon infills. ?? Springer-Verlag 2007.
Additional publication details
Understanding shallow gas occurrences in the Gulf of Lions