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Journal of Geological Research
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 370298, 10 pages
Research Article

Gas Hydrate System of Shenhu Area, Northern South China Sea: Geochemical Results

1Key Laboratory of Renewable Energy and Gas Hydrate, Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion, CAS, Guangzhou 510640, China
2Guangzhou Research Center for Gas Hydrate, CAS, Guangzhou 510640, China
3Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey, Guangzhou 510075, China
4China Geological Survey, Beijing 100011, China
5School of Marine Sciences, China University of Geosciences, Beijing 100083, China
6Geotek, Daventry NN11 8RD, UK
7Institute of Mineral Resources, CAGS, Beijing 100026, China

Received 2 April 2011; Revised 3 August 2011; Accepted 3 August 2011

Academic Editor: Michela Giustiniani

Copyright © 2011 Nengyou Wu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The drilling recovered high-concentration methane hydrates (maximum 26–48%) in a disseminated form in silty clay sediments in Shenhu area of Pearl River Mouth Basin, South China Sea. Combining the geochemical data, the gas hydrate-bearing sediments are 10 m to 43 m in thickness and located just above the base of the gas hydrate stability zone. The methane content is 96.10–99.91% with small amount of ethane and propane. The baseline chlorinity of pore waters shows 10% lower than that of shallow sediments below and inside the gas hydrate zone. The methane/ethane ratios are higher than 1000 above the gas hydrate zone and less than 1000 at the interval of gas hydrate zone. The depth of sulphate methane interface varies from site to site as 17 to 27 mbsf. These results show that the methane of gas hydrate was mainly originated from microbial activity and the upward methane flux is minor. This is evidenced by the values of headspace gases from the gravity piston cores and released gases from pressure cores, which range from −74.3‰  PDB to −46.2‰  PDB, with the majority less than −55%‰  PDB. The hydrate deposit is a distributed gas hydrate system in Shenhu area.