Gas hydrate in sediments on the Southern Chile continental slope

Villar-Muñoz, Lucia

The convergent plate margin of Chile has vast mineral resources associated with active or fossil hydrothermal systems. One of the natural resources that came into the focus of the Chilean government and institutions is gas hydrate in the offshore area of the Pacific Ocean margin, which is a solid ice-like form of water that contains gas molecules highly‐concentrated in methane. To identify the presence of hydrates, in this thesis it was used the bottom-simulating reflector BSR, which has the half amplitude and opposite polarity relative to the seafloor. Moreover, fluids play a key role in the nucleation and rupture propagation of earthquakes in convergent margins, since are a major agent of advective heat transfer from depth to the Earth’s surface. If we provide enough information for the regional heat flow, we will improve our knowledge of the tectono-thermal signature of the convergent margins. For this purpose, it is crucial to know the BSR-depth, which serves to calculate the steady-state heat flow q (mW m–2) by using a simple formula, and therefore, the heat flow can be envisaged in a regional overview. This thesis aims to investigate the tectonic processes of the Chilean forearc through the calculation of the regional BSR-derived heat flow, identification of fluid escape sites, description of the distribution of gas hydrates and estimation of the gas hydrate and free gas reservoirs.

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Villar-Muñoz, Lucia: Gas hydrate in sediments on the Southern Chile continental slope. 2019.

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