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Acoustic evidence for shallow gas accumulations in the sediments of the Eastern Black Sea


  • * Paper presented at the XIth Meeting of the European Union of Geoscientists, Strasbourg, France, 2001.

Derman Dondurur, Dokuz Eylül University, Department of Geophysics, Tınaztepe Campus, 35160 Kaynaklar-Buca, Izmir/Turkey. E-mail:


ABSTRACT The Black Sea contains immense gas accumulations. Exploration of gas accumulations is geologically and economically important because migration of methane in sediments may cause massive slope failures and the methane seeps may indicate deeper hydrocarbon reservoirs. Human activity both in and on the seafloor (oil industry) and natural activity (earthquakes, cyclones) trigger mechanisms for seafloor failure and gas release that may have a local and possibly global environmental impact. Recently, sonar and high-resolution seismic surveys were carried out to obtain information about the effects of gas and gas-filled sediments throughout the Turkish margin of the Eastern Black Sea, and shallow gas was detected on the subbottom profiler records. It continues about 25–65 m below the sea floor and is marked by bright and cloudy spots, sometimes pockmarks and acoustic voids. The lower section of the Turkish shelf is an extensive pockmarked plateau. The pockmarks are seen as circular structures with high backscattering on the sonar records.