Hydrocarbon gases in sediment of the Voring Plateau, Norwegian Sea Academic Article uri icon


  • Geochemical studies at three ODP Leg 104 sites on the Voring Plateau help define the distribution of hydrocarbon gases in sediment of this prominent feature of the Norwegian continental margin. Low levels of hydrocarbon gas were encountered in sediment of the outer part of the plateau, but sediment of the inner part of the plateau is very gassy. The molecular composition of inner plateau gases (>99.9% methane) and the carbon isotopic composition of the methane (avg. = -76 relative to the PDB standard) clearly show that the gas is biogenic. Heavier hydrocarbon gases accompany this methane, and their presence is probably a result of both chemical and microbial low-temperature diagenesis. Although these heavier hydrocarbons were not detected in sediment of the outer part of the plateau during shipboard analyses, subsequent shore-based analyses showed that these compounds are present at very low concentrations. Methane in the gassy sediment of the inner part of the plateau may be present as gas hydrates, judging from sedimentological and inorganic geochemical considerations, but no discernible gas hydrates were recovered during drilling. -Authors

published proceedings

  • Proc., scientific results, ODP, Leg 104, Norwegian Sea

author list (cited authors)

  • Kvenvolden, K. A., Golan-Bac, M., McDonald, T. J., Pflaum, R. C., & Brooks, J. M.

complete list of authors

  • Kvenvolden, KA||Golan-Bac, M||McDonald, TJ||Pflaum, RC||Brooks, JM

publication date

  • January 1989