Special Issue "Gas and Gas Hydrate in Permafrost"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 October 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Evgeny Chuvilin

Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, Moscow, Russia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: permafrost; gas hydrate; gas in permafrost; freezing process; hydrate formation; unfrozen water; properties of frozen sediments; experimental modeling; methane emission

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Geosciences aims to gather original research articles and reviews, which are dedicated to the research of genesis, composition specifics, migration, and accumulation of the natural gas in permafrost, and the possibility of gas existing in gas-hydrate form under permafrost and subpermafrost conditions.

Permafrost occupies vast land territories of the northern latitudes and of the Arctic shelf. Its thickness can reach hundreds of meters. The existing data on permafrost gas content allow us to say that permafrost layers are a natural medium capable of accumulating significant volumes of gas. With this in mind, natural gas accumulations in permafrost can be considered as a promising unconventional source of hydrocarbons. On the other hand, sudden gas manifestation, and even gas emissions when drilling wells in permafrost strata, are associated with accumulation of intrapermafrost gas and gas hydrates, which poses potential geological hazards in the development of Arctic oil and gas fields under permafrost strata.

Special interest should also be paid to the ecological aspects of the presence of gas and gas hydrate accumulations in permafrost, primarily in the near-surface layers. For this, it is necessary to assess the greenhouse effect of the intrapermafrost gases, particularly methane, with the possible thawing of permafrost, especially on the Arctic shelf. Nevertheless, the gas component of permafrost remains poorly understood, despite obvious scientific and practical interest. Therefore, I would like to invite you to submit articles about your recent work, experimental research or case studies, with respect to the above and/or the following topics:

  • Genesis and composition of intrapermafrost gases
  • Gas and gas hydrate accumulation in permafrost
  • Gas emission from permafrost
  • Dissociation of gas hydrate in permafrost
  • Properties of frozen gas and gas hydrate saturated sediments

I also encourage you to send me a short abstract outlining the purpose of the research and the principal results obtained, in order to verify at an early stage if the contribution you intend to submit fits with the objectives of the Special Issue.

Dr. Evgeny Chuvilin
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Permafrost
  • Intrapermafrost gas
  • Gas hydrate accumulation
  • Methane emission
  • Arctic shelf
  • Gas hydrate decomposition
  • Subpermafrost gas hydrate
  • Physical properties

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Understanding the Permafrost–Hydrate System and Associated Methane Releases in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf
Geosciences 2019, 9(6), 251; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9060251
Received: 4 April 2019 / Revised: 14 May 2019 / Accepted: 3 June 2019 / Published: 5 June 2019
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Abstract
This paper summarizes current understanding of the processes that determine the dynamics of the subsea permafrost–hydrate system existing in the largest, shallowest shelf in the Arctic Ocean; the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS). We review key environmental factors and mechanisms that determine formation, [...] Read more.
This paper summarizes current understanding of the processes that determine the dynamics of the subsea permafrost–hydrate system existing in the largest, shallowest shelf in the Arctic Ocean; the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS). We review key environmental factors and mechanisms that determine formation, current dynamics, and thermal state of subsea permafrost, mechanisms of its destabilization, and rates of its thawing; a full section of this paper is devoted to this topic. Another important question regards the possible existence of permafrost-related hydrates at shallow ground depth and in the shallow shelf environment. We review the history of and earlier insights about the topic followed by an extensive review of experimental work to establish the physics of shallow Arctic hydrates. We also provide a principal (simplified) scheme explaining the normal and altered dynamics of the permafrost–hydrate system as glacial–interglacial climate epochs alternate. We also review specific features of methane releases determined by the current state of the subsea-permafrost system and possible future dynamics. This review presents methane results obtained in the ESAS during two periods: 1994–2000 and 2003–2017. A final section is devoted to discussing future work that is required to achieve an improved understanding of the subject. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gas and Gas Hydrate in Permafrost)
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Open AccessArticle
Methane in Gas Shows from Boreholes in Epigenetic Permafrost of Siberian Arctic
Geosciences 2019, 9(2), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9020067
Received: 15 October 2018 / Revised: 22 January 2019 / Accepted: 24 January 2019 / Published: 29 January 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6855 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The gas shows in the permafrost zone represent a hazard for exploration, form the surface features, and are improperly estimated in the global methane budget. They contain methane of either surficial or deep-Earth origin accumulated earlier in the form of gas or gas [...] Read more.
The gas shows in the permafrost zone represent a hazard for exploration, form the surface features, and are improperly estimated in the global methane budget. They contain methane of either surficial or deep-Earth origin accumulated earlier in the form of gas or gas hydrates in lithological traps in permafrost. From these traps, it rises through conduits, which have tectonic origin or are associated with permafrost degradation. We report methane fluxes from 20-m to 30-m deep boreholes, which are the artificial conduits for gas from permafrost in Siberia. The dynamics of degassing the traps was studied using static chambers, and compared to the concentration of methane in permafrost as analyzed by the headspace method and gas chromatography. More than 53 g of CH4 could be released to the atmosphere at rates exceeding 9 g of CH4 m−2 s−1 from a trap in epigenetic permafrost disconnected from traditional geological sources over a period from a few hours to several days. The amount of methane released from a borehole exceeded the amount of the gas that was enclosed in large volumes of permafrost within a diameter up to 5 meters around the borehole. Such gas shows could be by mistake assumed as permanent gas seeps, which leads to the overestimation of the role of permafrost in global warming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gas and Gas Hydrate in Permafrost)
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Open AccessArticle
Thermal Conductivity of Frozen Sediments Containing Self-Preserved Pore Gas Hydrates at Atmospheric Pressure: An Experimental Study
Geosciences 2019, 9(2), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9020065
Received: 12 December 2018 / Revised: 13 January 2019 / Accepted: 24 January 2019 / Published: 29 January 2019
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3475 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper presents the results of an experimental thermal conductivity study of frozen artificial and natural gas hydrate-bearing sediments at atmospheric pressure (0.1 MPa). Samples of hydrate-saturated sediments are highly stable and suitable for the determination of their physical properties, including thermal conductivity, [...] Read more.
The paper presents the results of an experimental thermal conductivity study of frozen artificial and natural gas hydrate-bearing sediments at atmospheric pressure (0.1 MPa). Samples of hydrate-saturated sediments are highly stable and suitable for the determination of their physical properties, including thermal conductivity, due to the self-preservation of pore methane hydrate at negative temperatures. It is suggested to measure the thermal conductivity of frozen sediments containing self-preserved pore hydrates by a KD-2 needle probe which causes very little thermal impact on the samples. As shown by the special measurements of reference materials with known thermal conductivities, the values measured with the KD-2 probe are up to 20% underestimated and require the respective correction. Frozen hydrate-bearing sediments differ markedly in thermal conductivity from reference frozen samples of the same composition but free from pore hydrate. The difference depends on the physical properties of the sediments and on changes in their texture and structure associated with the self-preservation effect. Namely, it increases proportionally to the volumetric hydrate content, hydrate saturation, and the percentage of water converted to hydrate. Thermal conductivity is anisotropic in core samples of naturally frozen sediments that enclose visible ice-hydrate lenses and varies with the direction of measurements with respect to the lenses. Thermal conductivity measurements with the suggested method provide a reliable tool for detection of stable and relict gas hydrates in permafrost. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gas and Gas Hydrate in Permafrost)
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental Modeling of Methane Hydrate Formation and Decomposition in Wet Heavy Clays in Arctic Regions
Geosciences 2019, 9(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9010013
Received: 13 October 2018 / Revised: 26 November 2018 / Accepted: 27 November 2018 / Published: 27 December 2018
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Abstract
Experimental studies on clay sample saturation by methane hydrates proved that clay particles play an important role in the hydrate accumulation and decomposition processes in sediments. Depending on water content, the same clay mineral can serve as inhibitor, neutral component and promoter of [...] Read more.
Experimental studies on clay sample saturation by methane hydrates proved that clay particles play an important role in the hydrate accumulation and decomposition processes in sediments. Depending on water content, the same clay mineral can serve as inhibitor, neutral component and promoter of hydrate formation. Wet clay is a good mineral surface for hydrate formation, but clays represent the worst media for hydrate accumulation and existence. Nevertheless, there are many observations of hydrate presence in clay-containing sediments, especially offshore. Experimental modelling of metastable hydrate decomposition in sediment samples recovered from permafrost in “Yamal crater” in the Russian Arctic has shown that metastable hydrates located in frozen, salted clays can generate huge volumes of gas, even with a negligible (tenth and hundredth of a degree) temperature rise. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gas and Gas Hydrate in Permafrost)
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Open AccessArticle
Microbiological Study of Yamal Lakes: A Key to Understanding the Evolution of Gas Emission Craters
Geosciences 2018, 8(12), 478; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8120478
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 8 December 2018 / Accepted: 10 December 2018 / Published: 13 December 2018
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Abstract
Although gas emission craters (GECs) are actively investigated, the question of which landforms result from GECs remains open. The evolution of GECs includes the filling of deep hollows with atmospheric precipitation and deposits from their retreating walls, so that the final stage of [...] Read more.
Although gas emission craters (GECs) are actively investigated, the question of which landforms result from GECs remains open. The evolution of GECs includes the filling of deep hollows with atmospheric precipitation and deposits from their retreating walls, so that the final stage of gas emission crater (GEC) lake development does not differ from that of any other lakes. Microbial activity and diversity may be indicators that make it possible to distinguish GEC lakes from other exogenous lakes. This work aimed at a comparison of the activity and diversity of microbial communities in young GEC lakes and mature background lakes of Central Yamal by using a radiotracer analysis and high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA genes. The radiotracer analysis revealed slow-flowing microbial processes as expected for the cold climate of the study area. GEC lakes differed from background ones by slow rates of anaerobic processes (methanogenesis, sulfate reduction) as well as by a low abundance and diversity of methanogens. Other methane cycle micro-organisms (aerobic and anaerobic methanotrophs) were similar in all studied lakes and represented by Methylobacter and ANME 2d; the rates of methane oxidation were also similar. Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Betaproteobacteria, and Acidobacteria were predominant in both lake types. Thus, GEC lakes may be identified by their scarce methanogenic population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gas and Gas Hydrate in Permafrost)
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Open AccessArticle
Formation and Accumulation of Pore Methane Hydrates in Permafrost: Experimental Modeling
Geosciences 2018, 8(12), 467; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8120467
Received: 22 October 2018 / Revised: 1 December 2018 / Accepted: 7 December 2018 / Published: 10 December 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (4107 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Favorable thermobaric conditions of hydrate formation and the significant accumulation of methane, ice, and actual data on the presence of gas hydrates in permafrost suggest the possibility of their formation in the pore space of frozen soils at negative temperatures. In addition, today [...] Read more.
Favorable thermobaric conditions of hydrate formation and the significant accumulation of methane, ice, and actual data on the presence of gas hydrates in permafrost suggest the possibility of their formation in the pore space of frozen soils at negative temperatures. In addition, today there are several geological models that involve the formation of gas hydrate accumulations in permafrost. To confirm the literature data, the formation of gas hydrates in permafrost saturated with methane has been studied experimentally using natural artificially frozen in the laboratory sand and silt samples, on a specially designed system at temperatures from 0 to −8 °C. The experimental results confirm that pore methane hydrates can form in gas-bearing frozen soils. The kinetics of gas hydrate accumulation in frozen soils was investigated in terms of dependence on the temperature, excess pressure, initial ice content, salinity, and type of soil. The process of hydrate formation in soil samples in time with falling temperature from +2 °C to −8 °C slows down. The fraction of pore ice converted to hydrate increased as the gas pressure exceeded the equilibrium. The optimal ice saturation values (45−65%) at which hydrate accumulation in the porous media is highest were found. The hydrate accumulation is slower in finer-grained sediments and saline soils. The several geological models are presented to substantiate the processes of natural hydrate formation in permafrost at negative temperatures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gas and Gas Hydrate in Permafrost)
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Open AccessArticle
Forecast of Gas Hydrates Distribution Zones in the Arctic Ocean and Adjacent Offshore Areas
Geosciences 2018, 8(12), 453; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8120453
Received: 12 October 2018 / Revised: 29 November 2018 / Accepted: 1 December 2018 / Published: 4 December 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4245 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Gas hydrates (GH) are perspective energy sources, containing significantly more gas resources compared with conventional fields. At the same time, GH pose a danger for exploration and production of hydrocarbon fields. Methane release to the atmosphere is also a substantial factor of climate [...] Read more.
Gas hydrates (GH) are perspective energy sources, containing significantly more gas resources compared with conventional fields. At the same time, GH pose a danger for exploration and production of hydrocarbon fields. Methane release to the atmosphere is also a substantial factor of climate change. The objective of this research was the forecast of distribution of zones, favorable for GH existence in the Arctic Ocean and adjacent offshore areas, limited by the 45° latitude. For conducting research, existent data of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on near-bottom water temperatures was analyzed. Using CSMHYD software, based on empirical equations of GH stability, minimal depths appropriate for methane hydrates formation at different temperatures were calculated. On the basis of obtained values, a cartographic scheme with a zone favorable for methane hydrates existence was created. The zone corresponded to distribution of BSRs defined in seismic sections, including those discovered for the first time on the continental slope of the Laptev Sea and in the TINRO Depression of the Sea of Okhotsk. Besides, the zone concurred with the results of other authors research, summarized in the geoinformation system “AWO” (The Arctic and the World Ocean), which could verify the validity of conducted forecast. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gas and Gas Hydrate in Permafrost)
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Open AccessArticle
Methane Content in Ground Ice and Sediments of the Kara Sea Coast
Geosciences 2018, 8(12), 434; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8120434
Received: 13 September 2018 / Revised: 31 October 2018 / Accepted: 21 November 2018 / Published: 23 November 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2375 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Permafrost degradation of coastal and marine sediments of the Arctic Seas can result in large amounts of methane emitted to the atmosphere. The quantitative assessment of such emissions requires data on variability of methane content in various types of permafrost strata. To evaluate [...] Read more.
Permafrost degradation of coastal and marine sediments of the Arctic Seas can result in large amounts of methane emitted to the atmosphere. The quantitative assessment of such emissions requires data on variability of methane content in various types of permafrost strata. To evaluate the methane concentrations in sediments and ground ice of the Kara Sea coast, samples were collected at a series of coastal exposures. Methane concentrations were determined for more than 400 samples taken from frozen sediments, ground ice and active layer. In frozen sediments, methane concentrations were lowest in sands and highest in marine clays. In ground ice, the highest concentrations above 500 ppmV and higher were found in massive tabular ground ice, with much lower methane concentrations in ground ice wedges. The mean isotopic composition of methane is −68.6‰ in permafrost and −63.6‰ in the active layer indicative of microbial genesis. The isotopic compositions of the active layer is enriched relative to permafrost due to microbial oxidation and become more depleted with depth. Ice-rich sediments of Kara Sea coasts, especially those with massive tabular ground ice, hold large amounts of methane making them potential sources of methane emissions under projected warming temperatures and increasing rates of coastal erosion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gas and Gas Hydrate in Permafrost)
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Open AccessArticle
Dissociation and Self-Preservation of Gas Hydrates in Permafrost
Geosciences 2018, 8(12), 431; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8120431
Received: 19 October 2018 / Revised: 15 November 2018 / Accepted: 20 November 2018 / Published: 23 November 2018
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (4673 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Gases releasing from shallow permafrost above 150 m may contain methane produced by the dissociation of pore metastable gas hydrates, which can exist in permafrost due to self-preservation. In this study, special experiments were conducted to study the self-preservation kinetics. For this, sandy [...] Read more.
Gases releasing from shallow permafrost above 150 m may contain methane produced by the dissociation of pore metastable gas hydrates, which can exist in permafrost due to self-preservation. In this study, special experiments were conducted to study the self-preservation kinetics. For this, sandy samples from gas-bearing permafrost horizons in West Siberia were first saturated with methane hydrate and frozen and then exposed to gas pressure drop below the triple-phase equilibrium in the “gas–gas hydrate–ice” system. The experimental results showed that methane hydrate could survive for a long time in frozen soils at temperatures of −5 to −7 °C at below-equilibrium pressures, thus evidencing the self-preservation effect. The self-preservation of gas hydrates in permafrost depends on its temperature, salinity, ice content, and gas pressure. Prolonged preservation of metastable relict hydrates is possible in ice-rich sandy permafrost at −4 to −5 °C or colder, with a salinity of <0.1% at depths below 20–30 m. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gas and Gas Hydrate in Permafrost)
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Open AccessArticle
Geochemical Anomalies of Frozen Ground due to Hydrocarbon Migration in West Siberian Cryolithozone
Geosciences 2018, 8(12), 430; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8120430
Received: 30 September 2018 / Revised: 11 November 2018 / Accepted: 19 November 2018 / Published: 22 November 2018
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Abstract
According to the study of frozen deposits in the territory south of the Taz Peninsula, geochemical processes are considered under the hydrocarbon migration from the lower productive complex. An analysis of the cryolithological structure of the frozen stratum was performed, and the composition [...] Read more.
According to the study of frozen deposits in the territory south of the Taz Peninsula, geochemical processes are considered under the hydrocarbon migration from the lower productive complex. An analysis of the cryolithological structure of the frozen stratum was performed, and the composition of the gas and authigenic associations was studied. It was shown that the migration of gases is caused by shear deformations with the formation of cryogenic textures with the presence of gas-bearing ice crystallites on slip surfaces. It was found that the migration of hydrocarbons causes significant local changes in pH/Eh parameters in the frozen stratum and determines the micromosaic distribution of sulfate and iron reduction processes that lead to the formation (including microbiological processes) of various forms of iron: sulphides, carbonates and oxides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gas and Gas Hydrate in Permafrost)
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