Gas Hydrates of the Middle America TrenchDeep Sea Drilling Project Leg 84 Chapter uri icon


  • On DSDP Leg 84, gas hydrates were found at three sites (565, 568, and 570) and were inferred, on the basis of inorganic and organic geochemical evidence, to be present at two sites (566 and 569); no evidence for gas hydrates was observed at Site 567. Recovered gas hydrates appeared as solid pieces of white, icelike material occupying fractures in mudstone or as coarse-grained sediment in which the pore space exhibited rapid outgassing. Also a 1.05-m-long core of massive gas hydrate was obtained at Site 570. Downhole logging indicated that this hydrate was actually 3 to 4 m thick. Measurements of the amount of methane released during the decomposition of these recovered samples clearly showed that gas hydrates had been found. The distribution of evolved hydrocarbon gases indicated that Structure I gas hydrates were present because of the apparent inclusion of methane and ethane and exclusion of propane and higher molecular weight gases. The water composing the gas hydrates was fresh, having chlorinities ranging from 0.5 to 3.2. At Sites 565, 568, and 570, where gas hydrates were observed, the chlorinity of pore water squeezed from the sediment decreased with sediment depth. The chlorinity profiles may indicate that gas hydrates can often occur finely dispersed in sediments but that these gas hydrates are not recovered because they do not survive the drilling and recovery process. Methane in the gas hydrates found on Leg 84 was mainly derived in situ by biogenic processes, whereas the accompanying small amounts of ethane likely resulted from low-temperature diagenetic processes. Finding gas hydrates on Leg 84 expands observations made earlier on Leg 66 and particularly Leg 67. The results of all of these legs show that gas hydrates are common in landward slope sediments of the Middle American Trench from Mexico to Costa Rica.

author list (cited authors)

  • Kvenvolden, K. A., & Mcdonald, T. J.

complete list of authors

  • Kvenvolden, KA||Mcdonald, TJ

editor list (cited editors)

  • Orlofsky, S.

Book Title

  • Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, Vol. 84

publication date

  • January 1, 1985 11:11 AM