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Growth of disk-shaped bubbles in sediment

Gardiner, B.S., Boudreau, B.P. and Johnson, B.D. (2003) Growth of disk-shaped bubbles in sediment. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 67 (8). pp. 1485-1494.

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Disc-shaped methane bubbles, often observed in marine sediments, result from growth in a medium that elastically resists expansion of the bubbles and yields by fracture. We have modeled this process to obtain estimates of growth times by using a reaction-diffusion model coupled to a linear elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM). For comparison, we also modeled the growth of a constant eccentricity bubble in a nonresistant medium. Discoidal bubbles that grow in sediments that obey LEFM grow much faster than spherical bubbles (two- to fourfold faster for the times and conditions tested here) and become more eccentric with time (aspect ratios falling from 0.3 to 0.03 over 8 d of growth). In addition, their growth is not continuous but punctuated by fracture events. Furthermore, under some conditions, LEFM predicts that bubble growth can become arrested, which is not possible for a bubble in a nonresistant medium, even for nonspherical bubbles. Cessation of growth occurs when the dissolved gas concentration gradient near the bubble surface disappears as a result of the increase in bubble gas pressure needed to overcome sediment elasticity.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd.
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