Gas hydrates are widely distributed in the Kumano forearc basin, which is located above accretionary prism in the Nankai margin off the Kii peninsula, Japan. Bottom-Simulating Reflector (BSR) at the base of gas hydrate stability zone has been imaged as a strong acoustic impedance contrast on the reflection seismic profiles. In order to better define the accumulations of gas hydrates and free gases, we performed a high-resolution seismic velocity analysis to 3D seismic data using a method of conventional semblance spectra via automatic velocity picking algorithm. The results revealed that gas hydrate-bearing sediments above the BSR and free gas-bearing sediments below the BSR are characterized by P-wave velocities of 1900–2500 m/s and 1000–1800 m/s, respectively. Then, the velocity model was converted into gas hydrate and free gas saturation using rock physics approaches. The results indicated that saturation of gas hydrates ranges from 0% to 45% in the pore space, and highly concentrated around the outer ridge where faults are densely developed. Additionally, concentrations of free gas ranging from 0% to 20% in the pore space are widely distributed below BSRs and are considerably high above ridge structure generated by displacement of large fault splayed from the deep plate boundary décollement. Based on these results, we suggest that the gas hydrates concentrated due to the free gas influx which migrated upward through the steeply dipping strata and faults (or fractures) cutting through the basin. The accumulations of gas and/or hydrates are further controlled by fault movements in the accretionary prism beneath the forearc basin. Therefore, these factors generated by intensive tectonic movements in the plate subduction zone control the distribution and saturation pattern of gas hydrate and free gas formations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economic Geology