Abstract

Vertical seismic profile (VSP) data from two drill sites on the Cascadia margin show low-velocity zones, indicative of free gas, be. neath a bottom-simulating reflector (BSR). Offshore Oregon, at Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 892, velocities drop from an average of 1750 m/s above the BSR to less than 1250 m/s below it. Sonic logs confirm that seismic velocity in the sediments adjacent to the borehole is less than that of water for at least 50 m beneath the depth of the BSR at this site. Similarly, at ODP Site 889 offshore Vancouver, velocities range from 1700 to 1900 m/s in the 100 m above the BSR and drop abruptly to 1520 m/s in the 15 m just beneath it. The low velocities observed beneath the BSR are strong evidence for the presence of 1%-5% free gas (by volume). The BSR at these two sites results from the contact between gas-free sediments containing a small quantity of hydrate above the BSR and a low-velocity free-gas zone beneath it. Although the BSR is associated with the base of the hydrate stability field, hydrate appears to account for relatively little of the velocity contrast that produces the BSR. Velocity above the BSR at Site 889 is only about 100 m/s greater than that expected for sediments of similar porosity. Sediments above the BSR at Site 892 appear to have normal velocity for their porosity and may, contain little hydrate.

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