Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • Gravity anomalies over the Central Indian Ridge between 3°S and 11°S, Indian Ocean: Segmentation and crustal structure

      Kiranmai Samudrala K A Kamesh Raju P Rama Rao

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      High-resolution shipboard geophysical investigations along the Indian Ocean ridge system are sparse especially over the Carlsberg and Central Indian ridges. In the present study, the shipboard gravity and multibeam bathymetry data acquired over a 750 km long section of the Central Indian Ridge between 3°S and 11°S have been analysed to understand the crustal structure and the ridge segmentation pattern. The mantle Bouguer anomalies (MBA) and the residual mantle Bouguer anomalies (RMBA) computed in the study area have shown significant variations along the ridge segments that are separated by transform and non-transform discontinuities. The MBA lows observed over the linear ridge segments bounded by well-defined transform faults are attributed to the thickening of the crust at the middle portions of the ridge segments. The estimates of crustal thickness from the RMBA shows an average of 5.2 km thick crust in the axial part of the ridge segments. The MBA and relative RMBA highs along the two nontransform discontinuities suggests a thinner crust of up to 4.0 km. The most significant MBA and RMBA highs were observed over the Vema transform fault suggesting thin crust of 4 km in the deepest part of the transform fault where bathymetry is more than 6000 m. The identified megamullion structures have relative MBA highs suggesting thinner crust. Besides MBA lows along the ridge axis, significant off-axis MBA lows have been noticed, suggesting off-axis mantle upwelling zones indicative of thickening of the crust. The rift valley morphology varies from the typical V-shaped valley to the shallow valley floor with undulations on the inner valley floor. Segments with shallow rift valley floor have depicted well-defined circular MBA lows with persistent RMBA low, suggesting modulation of the valley floor morphology due to the variations in crustal thickness and the mantle temperature. These are supported by thicker crust and weaker lithospheric mantle.

    • Gas hydrate/free gas migration pathways in submarine slope failures: East Indian Margin


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      Gas hydrates from the continental margin settings are mostly confined to continental slopes. The free gas occurring below the gas hydrate laden sediments play a crucial role in the submarine slope failures and can potentially trigger the submarine landslides. The present study is carried out to investigate such a scenario in the shale dominated Krishna–Godavari (KG) basin having proven gas hydrate deposits. Shale reservoirs are less permeable compared to sandstone reservoirs and as such, the free gas that is locked in the pore spaces of shales would eventually create hydro fractures or faults to escape from the pore spaces. This overpressure from the gas zone will find a pathway to reach the shallower depths. In the present study, two faults are identified of which, one is acting as a potential pathway for overpressures to travel through it, while the other is found to be critically pressurized due to the gas zone below it. The calculated gas column height is ${\sim}$51 m and any further increase in the gas column height would create a fault slip and cause the mechanical failure of the sediments, creating another potential pathway. We infer that these faults are acting as a migration pathway in our study area and the advection of fluid/gas from the gas zone via the pathway might have played a major role in creating a slope break above the fault.


      $\bullet$ Gas migration and role of free gas on slope stability.

      $\bullet$ Seismic attributes for characterization of free gas zones and migration pathways.

      $\bullet$ Gas column height and critical gas pressure necessary to initiate fault activation.

      $\bullet$ Active and passive faults and their role as migration pathways.

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