Abstract: Naturally occurring gas hydrate is a solid, ice-like substance, composed of rigid cages of water molecules that enclose molecules of gas, mainly methane, thus often being called methane hydrate. Methane hydrate formation is stable under low temperature and high pressure conditions. These conditions exist on earth in polar regions as well as in submarine continental slopes and rises. Under normal pressure and temperature conditions on earth’s surface, methane hydrate will dissociate into methane gas and water. Since the estimated amount of the presently known methane hydrate reserves is very large, methane hydrate has been regarded as the most likely new energy resources in the 21st century. It has been proven that there are vast amount of methane hydrates distributed in the area offshore southwest Taiwan, however, due to the fact that there has no funded research on methane hydrate study, the actual distribution and the amount of gas hydrate in existence are little known.
Investigation of the methane hydrate in the offshore environment depends heavily on geophysical observations, especially the seismic methods. The presence of methane hydrate deposits has been inferred from the appearance of “bottom simulating reflection” (BSR) on marine seismic profiles. Thus, this proposal intends to carefully review all the seismic reflection profiles in the area offshore southwest Taiwan for the purposes of mapping the distribution of BSR and documenting its characteristics. The objectives of this proposal are: First, to understand the distribution and characters of the methane hydrate offshore SW Taiwan and to identify an area where the concentration of methane hydrate warrants detailed investigation in the future. Second, to learn and establish the most advanced geophysical techniques for methane hydrate analyses, and to develop a practical approach to investigate some physical properties of the methane hydrate bearing sediments. To achieve these goals, the principal investigator of this proposal will participate in the gas hydrate research work conducted at the US Geological Survey and the Ocean Drilling Program. We will also collaborate with other colleagues in Taiwan who intend to investigate methane hydrate via other means. After the completion of this project, we shall be ready to carry out a multi-year integrated research program to investigate the properties of methane hydrate in a selected target area offshore SW Taiwan, and eventually to develop methane hydrate into a potential new energy resource.
Bottom simulating reflection
Seismic data processing
Seismic attributes analyses
Offshore southwest Taiwan.