Seafloor blister-like mounds, methane migration and gas hydrate formation were investigated through detailed seafloor surveys in Santa Monica Basin, offshore of Los Angeles, California. Two distinct deep-water (??? 800??m water depth) topographic mounds were surveyed using an autonomous underwater vehicle (carrying a multibeam sonar and a chirp sub-bottom profiler) and one of these was explored with the remotely operated vehicle Tiburon. The mounds are > 10??m high and > 100??m wide dome-shaped bathymetric features. These mounds protrude from crests of broad anticlines (~ 20??m high and 1 to 3??km long) formed within latest Quaternary-aged seafloor sediment associated with compression between lateral offsets in regional faults. No allochthonous sediments were observed on the mounds, except slumped material off the steep slopes of the mounds. Continuous streams of methane gas bubbles emanate from the crest of the northeastern mound, and extensive methane-derived authigenic carbonate pavements and chemosynthetic communities mantle the mound surface. The large local vertical displacements needed to produce these mounds suggests a corresponding net mass accumulation has occurred within the immediate subsurface. Formation and accumulation of pure gas hydrate lenses in the subsurface is proposed as a mechanism to blister the seafloor and form these mounds. ?? 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Association among active seafloor deformation, mound formation, and gas hydrate growth and accumulation within the seafloor of the Santa Monica Basin, offshore California