Abstract

Earlier, the coexistence of spatially separated layers of gas hydrates of cubic structures I and II (CS-I, CS-II) in the bottom sediment cores from K-2 mud volcano (Kukui Canyon, Lake Baikal) was described. The layers of gas hydrates of different structural types were situated at different depths and overlain by the lacustrine sediments. Hydrate of CS-II contained 13–15 mol.% ethane, whereas CS-I hydrate contained only 3–4 mol.% ethane. We present a physicochemical model explaining the formation of such an unusual natural object. The model suggests that only CS-I hydrate was originally present at the sampling site. Some geologic event (tectonic shifts, landslide, etc.) stopped natural-gas emanation from the mud volcano or increased the heat flow in the hydrate pool. As a result, CS-I hydrate began to dissolve in interstitial water. We assume that the ethane-enriched CS-II hydrate is an intermediate product of the dissociation (dissolution) of CS-I hydrate.

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