Tangaroa TAN0607 cruise report : gas hydrate exploration on the East Coast, North Island, New Zealand

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Pecher, I.A.; Coffin, R.; Henrys, S.A.; CHARMNZ Working Group 2007 Tangaroa TAN0607 cruise report : gas hydrate exploration on the East Coast, North Island, New Zealand. Lower Hutt, N.Z.: GNS Science. GNS Science report 2007/29 112 p.

Abstract: R/V Tangaroa’s voyage TAN0607, 20 June to 2 July 2006, Wellington/Wellington, was the first-ever research campaign dedicated to studying gas hydrates on the Hikurangi margin. The cruise was a collaboration between GNS Science, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, the Universities of Otago, Hawaii, and Rochester (New York), as well as individual scientists from the University of Auckland and the GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam. We collected high-resolution seismic data, EM 300 swath bathymetry, 3.5 kHz sub-bottom, as well as 12, 38 and 120 kHz water column echosounder data. Piston cores were recovered for pore water chemistry, microbiology, core description, and paleoceanographic analyses. We acquired heatflow data using a violin-bow type probe rented from the Geological Survey of Canada. We also retrieved three dredge samples from the seafloor. Finally, Niskin bottles attached to CTDs were used to collect seawater for water-column chemistry. The cruise focused on two study areas, the Porangahau Ridge offshore of the Wairarapa and the Rock Garden off Hawke’s Bay. Seismic data from 2005 showed an amplitude anomaly beneath the Porangahau Ridge that appears to be caused by gas within the regional gas hydrate stability zone and may indicate the presence of highly concentrated gas hydrates in the vicinity. We acquired nine seismic lines across the ridge to constrain the lateral extent of this anomaly. The anomaly seems to develop with folding and may be linked to enhanced fluid flow through the gas hydrate stability field, which in turn may lead to elevated gas hydrate concentration. Pore water chemistry shows a shoaling of the base of the sulfate reduction zone across this feature, indicative of elevated methane flux through the hydrate stability field. There is a distinct thermal anomaly across the Porangahau Ridge, albeit with a complex signature. On the other hand, there are no indications of methane expulsion into the water column, neither in the echosounder records nor in the water chemistry profiles from CTDs. (auth)