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The Gas Hydrates working group has two ONC nodes available for their studies, NEPTUNE's Barkley Hydrates and Clayoquot Slope, both on the continental slope where natural gas hydrates are stable under the required high pressure and cold temperature conditions. Gas hydrates and their associated processes such as in the benthic community are inherently dynamic, and therefore the ability for year round 24h a day monitoring is perfectly suitable to capture the associated change

Barkley Canyon's hydrates has uniquely outcropping hydrate mounds which are constantly changing. This hydrate site is also special as it is composed of thermogenic natural gas from deep reservoirs. This is also home of Wally, the world's first internet operated vehicle, a submarine seafloor crawler.

Clayoquot Slope is located in the region of highest predicted rates of fluid escape from compacting sediments of the accretionary wedge. The fluid escape is prominent when crossing the site with ship echo sounders, and a permanent seafloor sonar now keeps track of the gas discharge. A transect of ocean drill holes, two of them instrumented and permanently recording, provide background data and valuable insights into the sometimes vigorous changes of hydrates activity.


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WG Main ProjectsInitiatedPrincipal InvestigatorsGraduate students (HQP)
Seafloor CrawlerOct 2009Laurenz Thomsen, Jacopo Aguzzi, Jakob Schwendner, Autun PurserCarol Doya, Alexander Duda, Damianos Chatzievangelou
Bubble SonarMay 2010George Spence, Michael Riedel, Miriam Roemer 
Hydrate Mound SonarMay 2013Jens Greinert, Jakob Schwendner 
Controlled Source Electromagnetic Experiment2010Nigel Edwards, Marion JegenRomina Gehrmann
Seafloor ComplianceOct 2009Eleanor Willoughby, Nigel EdwardsLisa Roach
SCIMPI Hydrates Borehole May 2013Kate Moran, Tania Lado Insua 
CORK 1364A Hydrates BoreholeSep 2010Earl Davis, Martin Heesemann 
Taphonomy of Wood and Shells at HydratesSep 2009Mairi Best 
Infauna dependence on hydrocarbon food sourcesSep 2013Neus Campanya I Llovet, Paul SnelgroveNeus Campanya I Llovet



Publications by the Working Group

Chatzievangelou D., Doya C., Thomsen L., Purser A., Aguzzi J., 2016. High-Frequency Patterns in the Abundance of Benthic Species near a Cold-Seep – An Internet Operated Vehicle Application. PLoS ONE 11(10): e0163808. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0163808

Römer, M., Riedel, M., Scherwath, M., Heesemann, M., Spence, G.D., 2016. Tidally controlled gas bubble emissions: A comprehensive study using long-term monitoring data from the NEPTUNE cabled observatory offshore Vancouver Island, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 17, doi:10.1002/2016GC006528.

Wilson, R.M., Lapham, L.L., Riedel, M., Holmes, M.E., Chanton, J.P., 2015. Observing methane hydrate dissolution rates under sediment cover. Marine Chemistry, Volume: 172.

Lapham, L., R. Wilson, M. Riedel, C. K. Paull, and M. E. Holmes, 2013. Temporal variability of in situ methane concentrations in gas hydrate-bearing sediments near Bullseye Vent, Northern Cascadia Margin. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 14, 2445–2459, doi:10.1002/ggge.20167.

Purser, A, Thomsen, L, Barnes, C, Best, M, Chapman, R, Hofbauer, M, Menzel, M, Wagner, H, 2013. Temporal and spatial benthic data collection via an internet operated Deep Sea Crawler.  Methods in Oceanography, 5: 1-18.

Thomsen, L, Barnes, C, Best, M, Chapman, R, Pirenne, B, Thomson, R, Vogt, J, 2012. Ocean circulation promotes methane release from gas hydrate outcrops at the NEPTUNE Canada Barkley Canyon node.  Geophysical Research Letters, 39 (16): L16605, DOI: 10.1029/2012GL052462.


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