BOEM USES 3-D SEISMIC DATA TO CHARACTERIZE THE SEAFLOOR OF THE GULF OF MEXICO AND MAP GAS HYDRATE DISTRIBUTION: IDENTIFYING NATURAL HYDROCARBON SEEPAGE AND OTHER FEATURES USING AMPLITUDE RESPONSE AND BUILDING THE HIGHEST RESOLUTION BATHYMETRY MAP TO DATE
BOEM used the database of X-Y-Z data to grid together and create one contiguous map across the deepwater GOM. The resultant map is the highest and most consistent resolution regional map available to date. It provides almost 50 times the resolution of the existing NOAA map. Many geological seafloor features are clearly visible on the new map, but not on the old, and give the scientific community a much better understanding of the dynamics and evolution of the GOM.
While mapping the seafloor, BOEM geoscientists recognized over 300 bottom simulating reflectors (BSRs) in the shallow subsurface of the GOM and Atlantic. The BSR is a reflector or series of reflectors that result from the acoustically high velocity of hydrate saturated sediments overlying lower velocity gas or water saturated sediments at the base of gas hydrate stability. The BSR mapping, in conjunction with the new bathymetry and seep mapping, allows for a better understanding of hydrate distribution and potential resources.