Effects of gas hydrates dissociation on clays and submarine slope stability View Full Text


Ontology type: schema:ScholarlyArticle     


Article Info

DATE

2017-06-20

AUTHORS

Shaoli Yang, Jung Chan Choi, Maarten Vanneste, Tore Kvalstad

ABSTRACT

Gas hydrate dissociation is often considered as a precursor or triggering factor for submarine slope failures occurring in relatively deep waters where the bulk of the gas hydrate is found in fine-grained sediments. However, there are actually relatively few studies that focus on the effect of gas hydrate dissociation on the behavior of clays, and very few on what physically happens to clay during and after the dissociation process and how gas hydrate dissociation affects the geotechnical properties of clays. In this paper, we illustrate the effects of hydrate dissociation in clays from laboratory strength tests (direct simple shear) combined with visualization including very-high-resolution 3D imaging (computed tomography), using R11 as the hydrate forming fluid in both laponite and Onsøy clay. The test results reveal that the hydrate dissociation creates bubbles in the surrounding clay matrix and around pipe/well models. In addition, we use CO2-saturated water as the pore fluid in soft clay, and test results show that cracks may develop, allowing gas migration to take place after reducing back pressure in an oedometer cell. Direct simple shear tests show that the undrained shear strength decreases by up to ∼15% due to this process. The test results were then implemented in a 2D finite element model to assess the influence of hydrate dissociation on submarine slope stability. We chose a slope segment west of Svalvard—an area where methane gas bubbles escape from the seabed. The gas bubbling in this area is likely due to climate-controlled hydrate-dissociation (warming of bottom water masses). In the finite-element model, we include the change of methane hydrate stability zone (MHSZ) with time as well as the hydrate-dissociation-induced failure zone, which may be a potential leakage pathway. The numerical study indicates that the hydrate dissociation caused by bottom water warming is unlikely to be the main cause generating a leakage pathway or failure plane. However, the hydrate dissociation causing the reduction in shear strength facilitates a potentially unstable condition. The results imply that the hydrate dissociation may contribute to slope failure as a secondary driver, but are unlikely the main driving force. The aim of this study was to improve our understanding of the physical processes of gas expansion, migration and effect of hydrate dissociation through visualization and a finite element model. In addition, this study discussed methods to detect gas hydrate through a case study, and it was found possible to predict average gas hydrate saturation at sites where the sulfate-methane transition depth is known. More... »

PAGES

941-952

References to SciGraph publications

Identifiers

URI

http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1007/s10064-017-1088-2

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10064-017-1088-2

DIMENSIONS

https://app.dimensions.ai/details/publication/pub.1086100808


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