Halogen systematics in the Mallik 5L-38 gas hydrate production research well, Northwest Territories, Canada: Implications for the origin of gas hydrates under terrestrial permafrost conditions

Hitoshi Tomaru, Udo Fehn, Zunli Lu, Ryo Matsumoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

The authors report here halogen concentrations in pore waters and sediments collected from the Mallik 5L-38 gas hydrate production research well, a permafrost location in the Mackenzie Delta, Northwest Territories, Canada. Iodine and Br are commonly enriched in waters associated with CH4, reflecting the close association between these halogens and source organic materials. Pore waters collected from the Mallik well show I enrichment, by one order of magnitude above that of seawater, particularly in sandy layers below the gas hydrate stability zone (GHSZ). Although Cl and Br concentrations increase with depth similar to the I profile, they remain below seawater values. The increase in I concentrations observed below the GHSZ suggests that I-rich fluids responsible for the accumulation of CH4 in gas hydrates are preferentially transported through the sandy permeable layers below the GHSZ. The Br and I concentrations and I/Br ratios in Mallik are considerably lower than those in marine gas hydrate locations, demonstrating a terrestrial nature for the organic materials responsible for the CH4 at the Mallik site. Halogen systematics in Mallik suggest that they are the result of mixing between seawater, freshwater and an I-rich source fluid. The comparison between I/Br ratios in pore waters and sediments speaks against the origin of the source fluids within the host formations of gas hydrates, a finding compatible with the results from a limited set of 129I/I ratios determined in pore waters, which gives a minimum age of 29 Ma for the source material, i.e. at the lower end of the age range of the host formations. The likely scenario for the gas hydrate formation in Mallik is the derivation of CH4 together with I from the terrestrial source materials in formations other than the host layers through sandy permeable layers into the present gas hydrate zones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)656-675
Number of pages20
JournalApplied Geochemistry
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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