Prior studies have shown an ambiguous relationship between gas-hydrate saturation and seismic attenuation in different regions, but the effect of gas-hydrate morphology on seismic attenuation of hydrate-bearing sediments was often overlooked. We have combined seismic data with rock-physics modeling to elucidate how gas-hydrate saturation and morphology may control seismic attenuation. To extract P-wave attenuation, we process the vertical seismic profile data within a frequency range of 30-150 Hz and the sonic logging data within 10-15 kHz from three wells in the south Hydrate Ridge, offshore Oregon (USA), collected during Ocean Drilling Program Leg 204 in 2000. We calculate the P-wave attenuation using spectral matching and centroid frequency shift methods, and we use Archie's relationship to derive gas-hydrate saturation from the resistivity data above the bottom-simulating reflection at the same wells. To interpret the observed seismic attenuation in terms of the effects of the gas-hydrate saturation and the morphology, we use the hydrate-bearing effective sediment rock-physics model. By comparing the observed and model-predicted attenuation values, we infer that (1) seismic attenuation appears to not be dominated by any single factor - instead, its variation is likely governed by the gas-hydrate saturation and the morphology; (2) the relationship between seismic attenuation and gas-hydrate saturation varies with different hydrate morphologies; (3) the squirt flow, occurring at different compliances of adjacent pores driven by pressure gradients, may be responsible for the significantly large or small attenuation over a broad frequency range.
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