Water retention curve for hydrate-bearing sediments

Sheng Dai, J. Carlos Santamarina*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The water retention curve plays a central role in numerical algorithms that model hydrate dissociation in sediments. The determination of the water retention curve for hydrate-bearing sediments faces experimental difficulties, and most studies assume constant water retention curves regardless of hydrate saturation. This study employs network model simulation to investigate the water retention curve for hydrate-bearing sediments. Results show that (1) hydrate in pores shifts the curve to higher capillary pressures and the air entry pressure increases as a power function of hydrate saturation; (2) the air entry pressure is lower in sediments with patchy rather than distributed hydrate, with higher pore size variation and pore connectivity or with lower specimen slenderness along the flow direction; and (3) smaller specimens render higher variance in computed water retention curves, especially at high water saturation S w > 0.7. Results are relevant to other sediment pore processes such as bioclogging and mineral precipitation. Key Points Network modeling of the water retention curve for hydrate-bearing sediments Effects of pore and hydrate characteristics on water retention curves Specimen size and geometry may bias measured water retention curves

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5637-5641
Number of pages5
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 16 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • air entry pressure
  • hydrate pore habit
  • network model
  • patchy hydrate
  • scale effect
  • van Genuchten model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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