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.
Additional publication details
Simultaneous determination of thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity and specific heat in sI methane hydrate
Geophysical Journal International
Oxford University Press
Coastal and Marine Geology Program, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center