Oregon State University
Constraining the Environmental Forcing of Methane Flux Along the Cascadia Margin


My previous studies on southern Hydrate Ridge revealed a potential dynamic relationship between oceanographic conditions, slope failures, and gas hydrate behavior over the past 120 ky. I hypothesize that slope failures were triggered by gas hydrate dissociation due to regional changes in bottom water temperature. To test this hypothesis I propose to reconstruct the history of methane flux at IODP Site 1325, drilled offshore Vancouver Island during Expedition 311 by coupling sedimentary Ba distribution and kinetic modeling using a modified CrunchFlow code (Steefal, 2009) to infer changes in methane flux in the past, and the methane response to environmental changes. Correlation of the methane flux history from the two locations along the Cascadia Margin will provide a framework for understanding gas hydrate dynamics and their relationship to environmental forcing at active margins worldwide.


My passion toward gas hydrate and methane seeps can be traced back to when I was senior in college, which is when I joined a cruise to research gas hydrate research in Taiwan. Especially fascinated with the various hypotheses about the catastrophic release of methane from gas hydrate, which triggered climate changes in the past, I then decided to dedicate my graduate studies to this topic. My master’s thesis focused on quantifying the present methane flux from mud volcanoes and gas hydrate in southwestern Taiwan. With the training, I realized that the issue can only be resolved by looking back into the geological records, such as marine sediments. With the guidance from my current adviser, Dr. Marta Torres at Oregon State University, I have the chance to approach this topic with the largest marine sediment achieve from IODP. This is indeed like dreams come true to me.