Non-Fickian diffusion and the accumulation of methane bubbles in deep-water sediments

D. S. Goldobin, N. V. Brilliantov, J. Levesley, M. A. Lovell, C. A. Rochelle, P. D. Jackson, A. M. Haywood, S. J. Hunter, J. G. Rees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


In the absence of fractures, methane bubbles in deep-water sediments can be immovably trapped within a porous matrix by surface tension. The dominant mechanism of transfer of gas mass therefore becomes the diffusion of gas molecules through porewater. The accurate description of this process requires non-Fickian diffusion to be accounted for, including both thermal diffusion and gravitational action. We evaluate the diffusive flux of aqueous methane considering non-Fickian diffusion and predict the existence of extensive bubble mass accumulation zones within deep-water sediments. The limitation on the hydrate deposit capacity is revealed; too weak deposits cannot reach the base of the hydrate stability zone and form any bubbly horizon.

Original languageEnglish
Article number45
JournalEuropean Physical Journal E
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


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