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Open AccessArticle

Using Time-Series Videos to Quantify Methane Bubbles Flux from Natural Cold Seeps in the South China Sea

by Pengfei Di 1,2,3,4,*, Dong Feng 2,5, Jun Tao 6 and Duofu Chen 2,5
CAS Key Laboratory of Ocean and Marginal Sea Geology, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510301, China
Laboratory for Marine Mineral Resources, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao 266061, China
Innovation Academy of South China Sea Ecology and Environmental Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510301, China
Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Guangzhou), Guangzhou 511481, China
Shanghai Engineering Research Center of Hadal Science and Technology, College of Marine Sciences, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai 201306, China
MNR Key Laboratory of Marine Mineral Resources, Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey, Ministry of Natural Resources, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510075, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2020, 10(3), 216;
Received: 18 December 2019 / Revised: 22 February 2020 / Accepted: 24 February 2020 / Published: 27 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Geology and Minerals)
Natural cold seeps are an important source of methane and other greenhouse gases to the ocean and atmosphere in the marine environment. Accurate quantification of methane bubble fluxes from cold seeps is vital for evaluating their influence on the global methane budget and climate change. We quantified the flux of gas bubbles released from two natural cold seep sites in the South China Sea: one seep vent in the Haima cold seeps (1400 m depth) and three seep vents at Site F (1200 m depth). We determined bubble diameter, size distribution, and bubble release rate using image processing techniques and a semiautomatic bubble-counting algorithm. The bubble size distributions fit well to log-normal distribution, with median bubble diameters between 2.54 mm and 6.17 mm. The average bubble diameters and release rates (4.8–26.1 bubbles s−1) in Site F was lower than that in Haima cold seeps (22.6 bubbles s−1), which may be attributed to a variety of factors such as the nature of the gas reservoir, hydrostatic pressure, migration pathways in the sediments, and pore size. The methane fluxes emitted at Haima cold seeps (12.6 L h−1) and at Site F (4.9 L h−1) indicate that the Haima and Site F cold seeps in the South China Sea may be a source of methane to the ocean. However, temporal variations in the bubble release rate and the geochemical characteristics of the seeps were not constrained in this study due to the short observational time interval. View Full-Text
Keywords: cold seep; bubbles; gas flux; release rate; South China Sea; autonomous video cold seep; bubbles; gas flux; release rate; South China Sea; autonomous video
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Di, P.; Feng, D.; Tao, J.; Chen, D. Using Time-Series Videos to Quantify Methane Bubbles Flux from Natural Cold Seeps in the South China Sea. Minerals 2020, 10, 216.

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