The need for quantifying and understanding the distribution of shallow gas is both of academic interest and of relevance to offshore facilities. The combination of seafloor mapping, subbottom profiling, and multi-channel seismic data can provide information on regions of possible shallow gas, where the gas impacts the acoustic properties of the host material and the seafloor. In this paper, we present two case studies - one academic and one industry - that evaluate the distribution of shallow gas in two field areas in the Mediterranean. In the first case study, geophysical data from Iskenderun Bay, southeastern Turkey, indicate the presence and distribution of shallow gas. Pockmarks on the seafloor are associated with acoustic wipeout in the shallow subbottom data. Although deeper seismic data do not show bright spots or other indicators of possible gas, instantaneous frequency analysis clearly shows laterally restricted anomalies indicating gas-rich zones. The interpretation of possible shallow gas resulted in moving a proposed drilling location to a nearby area characterized by fewer (but still present) shallow gas signatures. In the second case study, cores acquired in the Po Delta, Adriatic Sea, provide quantitative ground-truthing of shallow gas - as suggested by geophysical data - and provide minimum estimates of the percentage of gas in the subsurface. Cores targeted on anomalous subbottom data yielded up to 41,000 ppm methane; cores with anomalous gas content are associated with thick recent flood deposits which may effectively isolate reactive terrigenous organic matter from biologic and physical re-working. ?? Springer 2005.
Additional publication details
High-resolution surveys for geohazards and shallow gas: NW Adriatic (Italy) and Iskenderun Bay (Turkey)