Increased Fluid Flow Activity in Shallow Sediments at the 3 km Long Hugin Fracture in the Central North Sea

TitleIncreased Fluid Flow Activity in Shallow Sediments at the 3 km Long Hugin Fracture in the Central North Sea
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsLichtschlag, A, Cevatoglu, M, Connelly, DP, James, RH, Bull, JM
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Pagination2 - 20
Date Published2018/01/01
ISBN Number1525-2027
Keywordsfluid flow, methane, monitoring, North Sea, reduced fluids, seafloor fracture

Abstract The North Sea hosts a wide variety of seafloor seeps that may be important for transfer of chemical species, such as methane, from the Earth's interior to its exterior. Here we provide geochemical and geophysical evidence for fluid flow within shallow sediments at the recently discovered, 3 km long Hugin Fracture in the Central North Sea. Although venting of gas bubbles was not observed, concentrations of dissolved methane were significantly elevated (up to six-times background values) in the water column at various locations above the fracture, and microbial mats that form in the presence of methane were observed at the seafloor. Seismic amplitude anomalies revealed a bright spot at a fault bend that may be the source of the water column methane. Sediment porewaters recovered in close proximity to the Hugin Fracture indicate the presence of fluids from two different shallow (<550 m) sources: (i) a reduced fluid characterized by elevated methane concentrations and/or high levels of dissolved sulfide (up to 6 mmol L?1), and (ii) a low-chlorinity fluid (Cl ?305 mmol L?1) that has low levels of dissolved methane and/or sulfide. The area of the seafloor affected by the presence of methane-enriched fluids is similar to the footprint of seepage from other morphological features in the North Sea.

Short TitleGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems