Estimation of activity the methane seepage from the Black Sea floor using MODIS images and geosciences data

  • T. A. Melnichenko
Keywords: gas seepage (methane), tectonics, Black Sea, MODIS satellite images, remote research


The publication presents the results of a certain stage of the study: the features of methane gas seepage characteristics in the transition zone of shelf-continental slope in the region of the Dnieper Paleodelts in the northwestern part of the Black Sea are identified, taking into account the data set: information of satellite images and of geological-geophysical (acoustic) data. About 2000 of the MODIS satellite images (product MOD021KM) are acquired in stages over one year period. The image processing was carried out in the GIS environment. It was established that the volume of methane gas seepage on the investigated site is fixed on satellite images and is most pronounced during increased seismotectonic activity (activation of earthquakes in the Black Sea region) - this is due to the tectonic structure of the study area, which is in the regional plan on the edge of the Eastern European platform, and in the local area, is the Dnepr paleo-delta in the zone of decomposition, which is an additional factor for gas outlets here. On satellite images small clouds are observed in cloudy weather or absence of clouds on the background of continuous clouds. This is due to the physical properties of methane, which is (according to geochemical studies) about 99% of the released gas. Methane rising from the bottom of the sea to the surface, and then to the troposphere is much colder than the surface water and warmer than the atmosphere layer, which provokes the formation of condensate over the site with methane gas seepage, and when the weather conditions change, forming a rainy cloud with a sharp drop in temperature, the volume of methane gas of seepage up are much warmer than clouds, forming a cloudy area on a background of continuous clouds. This phenomenon is recorded in various spectral (thermal and infrared) bands in satellite images (NASA – MODIS, NOAA, etc.), methane rising to the lower layers of the atmosphere intensively absorbs thermal radiation of the Earth in the infrared spectral region at a wavelength of 7.66 µm. It enables to determine the methane gas seepage in satellite images for future studies of gas outlets from the bottom of the sea, taking into account the geological information and additional hydrological  and weather data. The conducted monitoring of the satellite images showed that during the period of increased seismic activity in this region (in particular under the influence of the zone Vranch), it directly affects the tectonic situation in the northwestern part of the Black Sea and increases the emissions of methane gases from the bottom of the sea, which are then recorded on the MODIS sensor. 

Author Biography

T. A. Melnichenko
State institution "Scientific centre for aerospace research of the Earth Institute of geological science National academy of sciences of Ukraine"


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How to Cite
Melnichenko, T. (2018). Estimation of activity the methane seepage from the Black Sea floor using MODIS images and geosciences data. Journal of Geology, Geography and Geoecology, 26(1), 135-142.