Abstract

The presence of marine gas hydrates is routinely inferred based on the identification of bottom simulating reflectors (BSRs) in common-depth-point (CDP) seismic images. Additional seismic studies such as amplitude variation with offset (AVO) analysis can be applied for corroboration. Although confirmation is needed by drilling and sampling, seismic analysis has proven to be a cost-effective approach to identify the presence of marine gas hydrates. Single-channel far-offset seismic images are investigated for what appears to be a more reliable and cost-effective indicator for the presence of BSRs than traditional CDP processing or AVO analysis. A nontraditional approach for processing seismic data is taken to be more relevant to imaging the gas/gas hydrate contact. Instead of applying the traditional CDP seismic processing workflows from the oil industry, we more carefully review the significant amount of information existing in the data to explore how the character of the data changes as offset angle increases. Three cases from different environments are selected for detailed analysis. These include (1) stratigraphy running parallel with the ocean bottom, (2) a potential BSR, running parallel to the ocean bottom, and cross-cutting dipping reflections, and (3) a suspected thermal intrusion without a recognizable BSR. This investigation considers recently collected multichannel seismic data from the deep waters of the central Aleutian Basin beneath the Bering Sea, the preprocessing of the data sets, and the methodology for processing and display to generate single-channel seismic images. Descriptions are provided for the single-channel near- and far-offset seismic images for the example cases. Results indicate that BSRs related to marine gas hydrates, and originating due to the presence of free gas, are more easily and uniquely identifiable from single-channel displays of far-offset seismic images than from traditional CDP displays.

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