Norwegian margin outer shelf cracking: a consequence of climate-induced gas hydrate dissociation?
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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A series of en echelon cracks run nearly parallel to the outer shelf edge of the mid-Norwegian margin. The features can be followed in a *60-km-long and *5-km-wide zone in which up to 10-m-deep cracks developed in the seabed at 400–550 m water depth. The time of the seabed cracking has been dated to 7350 14C years BP (8180 cal years BP), which corresponds with the main Storegga Slide event (8100 ± 250 cal. years BP). Reflection seismic data suggest that the cracks do not appear to result from deep-seated faults, but it cannot be ruled out completely that tension crevices were created in relation to past movements on the headwall of the Storegga slide. The cracking zone corresponds well to the zone where the base of the hydrate stability zone (BHSZ) outcrops. Evidence of fluid release in the BHSZ outcrop zone comes from an extensive pockmark field. We suggest that post-glacial ocean warming triggered the dissociation of gas hydrates while the interplay between dissociation, overpressure, and sediment fracturing on the outer shelf remains to be understood.
Copyright The Author(s) 2010. This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com