28 June. Day 6. Oil around us

Our target for the day is Gorevoy Utes area.

This is a unique locality where oil is seeping at a depth of ~850 m.

This locality was studied even by the “MIR” manned submersible. Despite all efforts, so far, it remains unclear what is the extension of this seepage area. Fresh oil slicks continuously appear on the water surface surrounding the boat.

The planned sampling profile runs a few km through a central high where most of the seepage is concentrated. This sampling is complementing the extensive campaign already conducted during TTR-Class@Baikal-2018. 

The recovered cores show a gradually increasing oil and gas content approaching the central area. Here oil is filling the degassing channels and micro-fractures of the recovered sediments.

Possible palaeo bitumen hard fragments were recovered in the upper part of some stations collected from the main seepage area. This suggests that this system has been active for thousands of years. For the first time during the Class@baikal project we test a new cutting edge technique and we use analytic sorbers to decipher the signature of hydrocarbons and the working petroleum system. During TTR-BL18 oil-impregnated gas hydrates where recovered but unfortunately we did not succeed to repeat this sampling.

Text: Adriano and team

Photo: Marina, Nikita and team