An Update on the U.S. Northern Atlantic Margin Seep Province: Five Years Later

Carolyn Ruppel
Research Geophysicist

Coastal and Marine Science Center
USGS Woods Hole

Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, 3:10pm
Chase 105

Since NOAA and the USGS first publicized the discovery of a 900-km-long methane seep province on the U.S. Atlantic margin, the USGS Gas Hydrates Project and its collaborators have participated in 8 cruises to acquire multidisciplinary data on these seeps. The research has included ROV dives, piston coring and multicoring, high-resolution multichannel seismic imaging, water column sampling, real-time sea-air methane flux measurements, dating of authigenic carbonates, benthic community sampling, stable isotope analyses, and acquisition of thousands of kilometers of water column imaging data. This seminar will update the state of knowledge about this seep province, with an emphasis on methane flux across the sediment-water and sea-air interfaces, on methane source characteristics and plumbing, and on the connection of the seeps to gas hydrate degradation processes. 


Carolyn Ruppel earned a master's in Earth sciences and a Ph.D. in Geophysics and Geology from MIT. Her primary research focuses on the interaction between methane hydrates and dissociating methane hydrates (marine seeps) on one hand and the ocean-atmosphere system on the other. She focuses particularly on the U.S. Atlantic and U.S. Pacific margins, as well as Arctic Ocean margins (U.S. Beaufort Sea and Svalbard). She also works on energy issues related to gas hydrates (including delineating their distribution in marine sediments), the coexistence of permafrost (including subsea) and hydrates, and reservoir properties of hydrate-bearing sediments. 

As a side specialty, Dr. Ruppel assists with programmatic environmental compliance for USGS marine acoustics surveys. During her career, she has also worked on marine heat flow data acquisition and analysis, other aspects of the hydrogeology of gas hydrate systems, and coastal zone hydrogeophysics (particularly tidal pumping, inductive EM data, and saline intrusion in surficial aquifers).  Her earliest work focused on numerical modeling of large scale tectonic processes and associated particle tracking, continental rifting, and marine analogs for continental tectonic processes. For a list of Dr. Ruppel's publications, visit her Google Scholar page.