During June 1998 and April 1999, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) conducted two research cruises in the northern Gulf of Mexico to acquire high-resolution seismic reflection data across the upper and middle continental slope as part of an investigation of the seismic character, distribution, and potential effects of naturally-occurring marine gas hydrates and related free gas within the gas hydrate stability zone. Over 1600 km of two-dimensional multichannel seismic reflection profiles were acquired during these two cruises. The specific objectives of this investigation are (a) to produce high-resolution images of the gas hydrate stability zone; (b) to study the distribution and character of potential seafloor failures and their relationship to known and inferred gas hydrate deposits; (c) to look at systematic variations in subsurface structure in gas hydrate and non-hydrate areas; and (d) to estimate, if possible, the amounts of hydrates present within the gas hydrate stability zone. The multichannel profiles provide high-quality images with approximately 5 meters of vertical resolution and up to 2 km of penetration. This report gives an overview of the acquisition and data processing of the multichannel seismic reflection profiles and provides references and links to reports with more detailed information. Geologic interpretations of these seismic profiles regarding gas hydrate occurrence and distribution within the study areas of this investigation are given in Cooper and Hart (2002).
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