Gas hydrate dissociation in sediments: Pressure-temperature evolution

Tae Hyuk Kwon*, Gye Chun Cho, J. Carlos Santamarina

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Hydrate-bearing sediments may destabilize spontaneously as part of geological processes, unavoidably during petroleum drilling/production operations or intentionally as part of gas extraction from the hydrate itself. In all cases, high pore fluid pressure generation is anticipated during hydrate dissociation. A comprehensive formulation is derived for the prediction of fluid pressure evolution in hydrate-bearing sediments subjected to thermal stimulation without mass transfer. The formulation considers pressure- and temperature-dependent volume changes in all phases, effective stress-controlled sediment compressibility, capillarity, and the relative solubilities of fluids. Salient implications are explored through parametric studies. The model properly reproduces experimental data, including the PT evolution along the phase boundary during dissociation and the effect of capillarity. Pore fluid pressure generation is proportional to the initial hydrate fraction and the sediment bulk stiffness; is inversely proportional to the initial gas fraction and gas solubility; and is limited by changes in effective stress that cause the failure of the sediment. When the sediment stiffness is high, the generated pore pressure reflects thermal and pressure changes in water, hydrate, and mineral densities. Comparative analyses for CO2 and CH4 highlight the role of gas solubility in excess pore fluid pressure generation. Dissociation in small pores experiences melting point depression due to changes in water activity, and lower pore fluid pressure generation due to the higher gas pressure in small gas bubbles. Capillarity effects may be disregarded in silts and sands, when hydrates are present in nodules and lenses and when the sediment experiences hydraulic fracture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberQ03019
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Dissociation
  • Excess pore pressure
  • Gas hydrate
  • Hydrate-bearing sediments
  • Pressure evolution
  • Self preservation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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