SCIENCE CHINA Earth Sciences, Volume 61 , Issue 9 : 1261-1278(2018) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11430-017-9214-2

Seismic rock physical modelling for gas hydrate-bearing sediments

More info
  • ReceivedSep 11, 2017
  • AcceptedApr 16, 2018
  • PublishedJul 10, 2018


Funded by

the National Natural Science Foundation of China(Grant,No.,41706042)

the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation(Grant,No.,2015M582060)

the Special Research Grant for Non- profit Public Service(Grant,No.,201511037)

the National key research and development program(Grant,No.,2017YFC0307400)

the foundation of Key Laboratory of Submarine Geosciences(Grant,No.,KLSG1603)


This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41706042), the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (Grant No. 2015M582060), the Special Fund for Land & Resources Scientific Research in the Public Interest (Grant No. 201511037), the National Key Research and Development Program (Grant No. 2017YFC0307400) and the Foundation of Key Laboratory of Submarine Geosciences (Grant No. KLSG1603).


[1] Bai H, Pecher I A, Adam L, Field B. Possible link between weak bottom simulating reflections and gas hydrate systems in fractures and macropores of fine-grained sediments: Results from the Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand. Mar Pet Geol, 2016, 71: 225-237 CrossRef Google Scholar

[2] Bao C. 1988. Natural Gas Geology. Beijing: Science Press (in Chinese). 390. Google Scholar

[3] Berge L I, Jacobsen K A, Solstad A. Measured acoustic wave velocities of R11 (CCl3 F) hydrate samples with and without sand as a function of hydrate concentration. J Geophys Res, 1999, 104: 15415-15424 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[4] Berryman J G. 1995. Mixture theories for rock properties. AGU Reference Shelf, 3: 205–228. Google Scholar

[5] Brown R J S, Korringa J. On the dependence of the elastic properties of a porous rock on the compressibility of the pore fluid. Geophysics, 1975, 40: 608-616 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[6] Carcione J M, Tinivella U. Bottom‐simulating reflectors: Seismic velocities and AVO effects. Geophysics, 2000, 65: 54-67 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[7] Carmichael R S. 1989. CRC Practical Handbook of Physical Properties of Rocks and Minerals. Florida: CRC Press. 741. Google Scholar

[8] Chand S, Minshull T A, Gei D, Carcione J M. Elastic velocity models for gas-hydrate-bearing sediments-a comparison. Geophys J Int, 2004, 159: 573-590 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[9] Chen Y F, Li D L, Liang D Q, Zhou X B, Wu N Y. 2013. Relationship between gas hydrate saturation and resistivity in sediments of the South China Sea. Acta Petrol Sin (in Chinese), 34: 507–512. Google Scholar

[10] Ciz R, Shapiro S A. Generalization of Gassmann equations for porous media saturated with a solid material. Geophysics, 2007, 72: A75-A79 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[11] Dai J, Xu H, Snyder F, Dutta N. Detection and estimation of gas hydrates using rock physics and seismic inversion: Examples from the northern deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Lead Edge, 2004, 23: 60-66 CrossRef Google Scholar

[12] Dallimore S R, Collett T S, Uchida T. 1999. Overview of science program, JAPEX/JNOC/GSC Mallik 2L-38 gas hydrate research well. Bull Geol Surv Can, 544: 11–17. Google Scholar

[13] Dillon W P, Lee M W, Fehlhaber K, Coleman D F. 1993. Gas hydrates on the Atlantic continental margin of the United States. US Geological Survey Professional Paper, 1570: 313–330. Google Scholar

[14] Dun T J. 1995. Reservoir research status and development trend (in Chinese). Northwest Geol, 16: 1–15. Google Scholar

[15] Dutta N C, Dai J. Exploration for gas hydrates in a marine environment using seismic inversion and rock physics principles. Leading Edge, 2009, 28: 792-802 CrossRef Google Scholar

[16] Dvorkin J, Nur A. 1993. Rock Physics for characterization of gas hydrates. US Geological Survey Professional Paper, 1570: 293–298. Google Scholar

[17] Dvorkin J, Nur A. Elasticity of high‐porosity sandstones: Theory for two North Sea data sets. Geophysics, 1996, 61: 1363-1370 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[18] Dvorkin J, Prasad M. 2001. Velocity to porosity transform in marine sediments. Petrophysics, 42: 429–437. Google Scholar

[19] Ecker C. 2001. Methane hydrate rock physics models for the Blake Outer Ridge. Stanford Exploration Project, 80: 1–18. Google Scholar

[20] Ecker C, Dvorkin J, Nur A. Sediments with gas hydrates: Internal structure from seismic AVO. Geophysics, 1998, 63: 1659-1669 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[21] Ecker C, Dvorkin J, Nur A M. Estimating the amount of gas hydrate and free gas from marine seismic data. Geophysics, 2000, 65: 565-573 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[22] Gassmann F. Elastic Waves through a packing of spheres. Geophysics, 1951, 16: 673-685 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[23] Gao H Y, Zhong G F, Liang J Q, Guo Y Q. Estimation of gas hydrate saturation with modified Biot-Gassmann theory: A case from northern South China Sea. Mar Geol Quat Geol, 2012, 32: 83-89 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[24] Helgerud M B, Dvorkin J, Nur A, Sakai A, Collett T. Elastic-wave velocity in marine sediments with gas hydrates: Effective medium modeling. Geophys Res Lett, 1999, 26: 2021-2024 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[25] Helgerud M B, Waite W F, Kirby S H, Nur A. Elastic wave speeds and moduli in polycrystalline ice Ih, sI methane hydrate, and sII methane-ethane hydrate. J Geophys Res, 2009, 114: B02212 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[26] Hill R. Elastic properties of reinforced solids: Some theoretical principles. J Mech Phys Solids, 1963, 11: 357-372 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[27] Holbrook W S, Hoskins H, Wood W T, Stephen R A, Lizarralde D, Leg 164 Science Party D. Methane hydrate and free gas on the blake ridge from vertical seismic profiling. Science, 1996, 273: 1840-1843 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[28] Hu G W, Li C F, Ye Y G, Liu C L, Zhang J, Diao S B. 2014. Observation of gas hydrate distribution in sediment pore space (in Chinese). Chin J Geophys, 5: 1675–1682. Google Scholar

[29] Jakobsen M, Hudson J A, Minshull T A, Singh S C. Elastic properties of hydrate-bearing sediments using effective medium theory. J Geophys Res, 2000, 105: 561-577 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[30] Jiang Z X. 2003. Sedimentology (in Chinese). Beijing: Petroleum Industry Press. 180–197. Google Scholar

[31] Jin S, Nagao J, Takeya S, Jin Y, Hayashi J, Kamata Y, Ebinuma T, Narita H. Structural investigation of methane hydrate sediments by microfocus X-ray computed tomography technique under high-pressure conditions. Jpn J Appl Phys, 2006, 45: L714-L716 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[32] Kleinberg R L, Flaum C, Griffin D D, Brewer P G, Malby G E, Peltzer E T, Yesinowski J P. Deep sea NMR: Methane hydrate growth habit in porous media and its relationship to hydraulic permeability, deposit accumulation, and submarine slope stability. J Geophys Res, 2003, 108: 2508 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[33] Kvenvolden K A. 1993. A primer of gas hydrates. US Geological Survey Professional Paper, 1570: 555–561. Google Scholar

[34] Lee M W, Collett T S. Elastic properties of gas hydrate-bearing sediments. Geophysics, 2001, 66: 763-771 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[35] Lee M W, Hutchinson D R, Collett T S, Dillon W P. Seismic velocities for hydrate-bearing sediments using weighted equation. J Geophys Res, 1996, 101: 20347-20358 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[36] Lee M W, Waite W F. Estimating pore-space gas hydrate saturations from well log acoustic data. Geochem Geophys Geosyst, 2008, 9: Q07008 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[37] Li W X, Wang H, Yao Z X, Liu Y K, Chang X. 2009. Shear-wave velocity estimation and fluid substitution by constraint method (in Chinese). Chin J Geophys, 52: 785–791. Google Scholar

[38] Liu C L, Ye Y G, Meng Q G, He X L, Cheng Q, Hu G W. 2012. Characteristics of gas hydrate samples recovered from Shenhu Area in the South China Sea (in Chinese). J Trop Oceanogr, 31: 1–5. Google Scholar

[39] Liu J, Liu J P, Cheng F, Wang J, Liu X X. Rock-physics models of hydrate-bearing sediments in permafrost, Qilian Mountains, China. Appl Geophys, 2017, 14: 31-39 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[40] Liu X W, Li M F, Zhang Y W, Zhang G X, Wu N Y, Huang Y Y, Wang H B.. 2005. Studies of seismic characteristics about gas hydrate: A case study of line HDl52 in the South China Sea (in Chinese). Geol Sci, 19: 33–38. Google Scholar

[41] Lu H, Seo Y T, Lee J W, Moudrakovski I, Ripmeester J A, Chapman N R, Coffin R B, Gardner G, Pohlman J. Complex gas hydrate from the Cascadia margin. Nature, 2007, 445: 303-306 CrossRef PubMed ADS Google Scholar

[42] Lu H F, Chen H, Chen F, Liao Z L. 2009. Mineralogy of the sediments from gas-hydrate drilling sites, Shenhu area, South China Sea (in Chinese). Research of Eological South China Sea, 20: 28–39. Google Scholar

[43] Lu S M, McMechan G A. Estimation of gas hydrate and free gas saturation, concentration, and distribution from seismic data. Geophysics, 2002, 67: 582-593 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[44] Luan X W, Jin Y K, Obzhirov A, Yue B J. Characteristics of shallow gas hydrate in Okhotsk Sea. Sci China Ser D-Earth Sci, 2008, 51: 415-421 CrossRef Google Scholar

[45] Mason W P. Chapter I: Quartz crystal applications. Bell Syst Technical J, 1943, 22: 178-223 CrossRef Google Scholar

[46] Mavko G, Mukerji T, Dvorkin J. 2009. The Rock Physics Handbook: Tools for Seismic Analysis in Porous Media. 2nd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press. Google Scholar

[47] Miller J J, Lee M W, von Huene R. 1991. An analysis of a seismic reflection from the base of a gas hydrate zone, Offshore Peru. AAPG Bull, 75: 910–924. Google Scholar

[48] Priest J A, Best A I, Clayton C R I. A laboratory investigation into the seismic velocities of methane gas hydrate-bearing sand. J Geophys Res, 2005, 110: B04102 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[49] Qian J, Wang X J, Dong D D, Wu S G, Sain K, Ye Y M. 2016. Quantitative assessment of free gas beneath gas hydrate stability zone from prestack seismic data and rock physics: A case of hole NGHP01-10A, Krishna-Godava basin, India (in Chinese). Chin J Geophys, 59: 2553–2563. Google Scholar

[50] Qu L, Zou C C, Lu Z Q, Yu C Q, Li N, Zhu J C, Zhang X H, Yue X Y, Gao M Z. Elastic-wave velocity characterization of gas hydrate-bearing fractured reservoirs in a permafrost area of the Qilian Mountain, Northwest China. Mar Pet Geol, 2017, 88: 1047-1058 CrossRef Google Scholar

[51] Russell B H, Hedlin K, Hilterman F J, Lines L R. Fluid-property discrimination with AVO: A Biot-Gassmann perspective. Geophysics, 2003, 68: 29-39 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[52] Sakai A. 1999. Velocity analysis of vertical seismic profile (VSP) survey at JAPEX/JNOC/GSC Mallik 2L-38 gas hydrate research well, and related problems for estimating gas hydrate concentration. Bull Geol Surv Can, 544: 323–340. Google Scholar

[53] Sava D, Hardage B A. Rock physics characterization of hydrate-bearing deepwater sediments. Leading Edge, 2006, 25: 616-619 CrossRef Google Scholar

[54] Schultheiss P, Holland M, Humphrey G. Wireline coring and analysis under pressure: Recent use and future developments of the HYACINTH system. Sci Dril, 2009, 7: 44-50 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[55] Shankar U, Riedel M. Gas hydrate saturation in the Krishna-Godavari basin from P-wave velocity and electrical resistivity logs. Mar Pet Geol, 2011, 28: 1768-1778 CrossRef Google Scholar

[56] Shipley T H, Houston M H, Buffler R T, Shaub F J, McMillen K J, Ladd J W, Worzel J L. 1979. Seismic evidence for widespread possible gas hydrate horizons on continental slopes and rises. AAPG Bull, 63: 2204–2213. Google Scholar

[57] Song H B, Osamu M, Yang S X, Wu N Y, Jiang W W, Hao T Y. 2002. Physical property models of gas hydrate-bearing sediments and AVA character of bottom simulating reflector (in Chinese). Chin J Geophys, 45: 546–556. Google Scholar

[58] Song H B, Wu S G, Jiang W W. 2007. The characteristics of BSRs and their derived heat flow on the profile 973 in the northeastern South China Sea (in Chinese). Chin J Geophys, 50: 1508–1517. Google Scholar

[59] Tohidi B, Anderson R, Clennell M B, Burgass R W, Biderkab A B. Visual observation of gas-hydrate formation and dissociation in synthetic porous media by means of glass micromodels. Geology, 2001, 29: 867-870 CrossRef Google Scholar

[60] Tosaya C, Nur A. Effects of diagenesis and clays on compressional velocities in rocks. Geophys Res Lett, 1982, 9: 5-8 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[61] Waite W F, Helgerud M B, Nur A, Pinkston J C, Stern L A, Kirby S H, Durham W B. Laboratory measurements of compressional and shear wave speeds through methane hydrate. Ann New York Acad Sci, 2000, 912: 1003-1010 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[62] Waite W F, Santamarina J C, Cortes D D, Dugan B, Espinoza D N, Germaine J, Jang J, Jung J W, Kneafsey T J, Shin H, Soga K, Winters W J, Yun T S. Physical properties of hydrate-bearing sediments. Rev Geophys, 2009, 47: 465-484 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[63] Wang J, Sain K, Wang X, Satyavani N, Wu S. Characteristics of bottom-simulating reflectors for Hydrate-filled fractured sediments in Krishna-Godavari basin, eastern Indian margin. J Pet Sci Eng, 2014, 122: 515-523 CrossRef Google Scholar

[64] Wang J, Zhao J, Zhang Y, Wang D, Li Y, Song Y. Analysis of the effect of particle size on permeability in hydrate-bearing porous media using pore network models combined with CT. Fuel, 2016, 163: 34-40 CrossRef Google Scholar

[65] Wang X, Hutchinson D R, Wu S, Yang S, Guo Y. Elevated gas hydrate saturation within silt and silty clay sediments in the Shenhu area, South China Sea. J Geophys Res, 2011, 116: B05102 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[66] Wang Y, Chen S, Wang L, Li X Y. Modeling and analysis of seismic wave dispersion based on the rock physics model. J Geophys Eng, 2013, 10: 054001 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[67] Weger R J, Eberli G P, Baechle G T, Massaferro J L, Sun Y F. Quantification of pore structure and its effect on sonic velocity and permeability in carbonates. AAPG Bull, 2009, 93: 1297-1317 CrossRef Google Scholar

[68] Westbrook G K, Chand S, Rossi G, Long C, Bünz S, Camerlenghi A, Carcione J M, Dean S, Foucher J P, Flueh E, Gei D, Haacke R R, Madrussani G, Mienert J, Minshull T A, Nouzé H, Peacock S, Reston T J, Vanneste M, Zillmer M. Estimation of gas hydrate concentration from multi-component seismic data at sites on the continental margins of NW Svalbard and the Storegga region of Norway. Mar Pet Geol, 2008, 25: 744-758 CrossRef Google Scholar

[69] Winters W J, Dallimore S R, Collett T S, Katsube T J, Jenner K A, Cranston R E, Wright J F, Nixon F M, Uchida T. 1999. Physical properties of sediments from the JAPEX/JNOC/GSC Mallik 2L-38 gas hydrate research well, determined using Gas Hydrate And Sediment Test Laboratory Instrument (GHASTLI). Bull Geol Surv Can, 544: 95–100. Google Scholar

[70] Winters W J, Waite W F, Mason D H, Gilbert L Y, Pecher I A. Methane gas hydrate effect on sediment acoustic and strength properties. J Pet Sci Eng, 2007, 56: 127-135 CrossRef Google Scholar

[71] Wood W T, Stoffa P L, Shipley T H. Quantitative detection of methane hydrate through high-resolution seismic velocity analysis. J Geophys Res, 1994, 99: 9681-9695 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[72] Wu N Y, Yang S X, Wang H B, Liang J Q, Gong Y H, Lu Z Q, Wu D D, Guan H X. 2009. Gas-bearing fluid influx sub-system for gas hydrate geological system in Shenhu area, northern South China Sea (in Chinese). Chin J Geophys, 52: 1641–1650. Google Scholar

[73] Xu S Y, White R E. A new velocity model for clay-sand mixtures. Geophys Prospect, 1995, 43: 91-118 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

[74] Xue J, Gu H M, Cai C G, Li Z J, Zhu D. 2016. Estimation of fracture parameters from P-wave AVOA data based on equivalent media theory (in Chinese). Oil Geophys Prosp, 51: 1171–1179. Google Scholar

[75] Ye Y G, Liu C L. 2011. Experimental Techniques and Their Applications for Natural Gas Hydrates (in Chinese). Beijing: Geological Publishing House. 88–89. Google Scholar

[76] Yin X Y, Hua S B, Zong Z Y. 2016. A decoupling approach for differential equivalent equations based on linear approximation (in Chinese). Oil Geophys Prosp, 51: 281–287. Google Scholar

[77] Yin X Y, Liu X X. 2016. Research status and progress of the seismic rock-physics modeling methods (in Chinese). Geophys Prosp Petrol, 55: 309–325. Google Scholar

[78] Yin X Y, Zong Z Y, Wu G C. Research on seismic fluid identification driven by rock physics. Sci China Earth Sci, 2015, 58: 159-171 CrossRef Google Scholar

[79] Zimmerman R W, King M S. The effect of the extent of freezing on seismic velocities in unconsolidated permafrost. Geophysics, 1986, 51: 1285-1290 CrossRef ADS Google Scholar

  • Figure 1

    CT imagery and diagrams for the micro-distribution of gas hydrates. (a) X-ray Micro CT imagery in a laboratory-made sample (modified from Jin et al., 2006), we can see sand grains (white), gas (black), water (light grey) and hydrate (yellow, which is represented by GH in the figure); (b) configuration for pore-filling gas hydrates; (c) configuration for load-bearing gas hydrates.

  • Figure 2

    Diagram of the rock physical modelling method. The diagram in the left red box shows the rock physical modelling method for load-bearing gas hydrate-bearing sediments, and the diagram in the right blue box shows the rock physical modelling method for pore-filling gas hydrate-bearing sediments.

  • Figure 3

    Velocities and VP/VS versus gas hydrate saturation for gas hydrate-bearing sediments. (a) VP; (b) VS; (c) VP/VS. ϕ represents porosity of gas hydrate-bearing sediments.

  • Figure 4

    Velocities versus hydrate saturation for gas hydrate-bearing sediments with different PARs of penny-shaped pores. (a) VP; (b) VS; (c) VP/VS.

  • Figure 5

    Velocities versus hydrate saturation for gas hydrate-bearing sediments with different PARs of ellipsoidal pores. (a) VP; (b) VS; (c) VP/VS.

  • Figure 6

    Velocities and VP/VS versus gas saturation at different gas saturations. (a) VP; (b) VS; (c) VP/VS.

  • Figure 7

    Elastic moduli, velocities and VP/VS versus shear modulus of hydrate at different hydrate saturations. (a) Bulk modulus; (b) shear modulus; (c) VP; (d) VS; (e) VP/VS.

  • Figure 8

    Crossplots of elastic parameters. (a) Crossplot of λρ and μρ for PFGH formation; (b) crossplot of λρ and μρ for LBGH formation; (c) crossplot of Poisson’s ratio and Russell fluid factor for PFGH formation; (d) crossplot of Poisson’s ratio and Russell fluid factor for LBGH formation. ϕ is sediment porosity, and the colour bars to the rights of the crossplots represent hydrate saturation.

  • Figure 9

    Indictor of elastic parameters for hydrate saturation. (a) λρ; (b) μρ; (c) poisson’s ratio; (d) russell fluid factor. The four bars corresponding to each hydrate saturation value from left to right represents PFGH formations with 10% porosity, LBGH formations with 10% porosity, PFGH formations with 40% porosity and LBGH formations with 40% porosity, respectively.

  • Figure 10

    Properties and experimental results for thirteen specimens. (a) Hydrate saturation and porosity; (b) measured velocities with an effective confining pressure of 500 kPa. The P-wave velocity and S-wave velocity are measured when pore-filling materials are hydrate and free gas (dry specimens), and water saturated P-wave velocity is calculated after gas-water substitution.

  • Figure 11

    PAR inverted from the measured velocities for thirteen specimens. The blue and red bars represent the PARs inverted for the measured P-wave and S-wave velocities, respectively.

  • Figure 12

    Calculated results for thirteen sand specimens. (a) Water-saturated VP and VS; (b) water-saturated VP/VS; (c) inversed hydrate saturation from calculated VP and VS.

  • Figure 13

    Measured well log data at site SH2. The well log curves rom left to right are gamma ray, acoustic travel-time, borehole diameter, density, resistivity, and neutron logging. The dotted green box represents the hydrate layer.

  • Figure 14

    Calculated porosity and pore aspect ratios. (a) Porosity calculated from density; (b) aspect ratio of ellipsoidal pores; (c) aspect ratio of penny-shaped pores.

  • Figure 15

    Calculated velocities, Poisson’s ratio and hydrate saturation for the gas hydrate-bearing layer at site SH2. (a) VP, the red solid line represents the measured values, and the blue solid line represents the calculated values; (b) calculated VS; (c) Poisson’s ratio, the red solid line represents the values calculated by the measured VP and calculated VS, and the blue solid line represents the values calculated by the calculated VP and VS; (d) hydrate saturation, the red solid line represents the hydrate saturation calculated using the Archie equation, and the blue solid line represents the hydrate saturation inverted from the calculated VS.

  • Figure 16

    Relative errors of the calculated and measured values of P-wave velocity.

  • Figure 17

    Crossplots of elastic parameters for gas hydrate-bearing sediments at site SH2. (a) Crossplot of measured VP and Gamma; (b) crossplot of VP and Poisson’s ratio; (c) crossplot of λρ and μρ. The colorbars on the right of each crossplot represent hydrate saturation.

  • Table 1   Elastic constants of sediment constituents


    Bulk modulus (GPa)

    Shear modulus (GPa)

    Density (g cm−3)






    Carmichael, 1989





    Tosaya and Nur, 1982

    Gas hydrate




    Waite et al., 2000









  • Table 2   Most cited elastic constants of gas hydrates

    Bulk modulus (GPa)

    Shear modulus (GPa)

    Density (g cm−3)


    Work area




    Ecker, 2001

    Blake Outer Ridge




    Lee and Collett, 2001

    Mallik 2L-38 well




    Waite et al., 2000

    laboratory experiments




    Helgerud et al., 1999

    ODP164, Site 995




    Shankar and Riedel, 2011

    Krishna-Godavari basin




    Helgerud et al., 2009

    laboratory experiments

  • Table 3   Elastic moduli and densities of minerals for site SH2


    Bulk modulus (GPa)

    Shear modulus (GPa)

    Density (kg m−3)

    Methane hydrate (5 MPa, 273 K)




    Methane gas (10 MPa, 273 K)




    Mineral mixture




    Data sources: Wang et al., 2011


Contact and support