Role of critical state framework in understanding geomechanical behavior of methane hydrate-bearing sediments

Shun Uchida, Xiao Guang Xie, Yat Fai Leung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


A proper understanding of geomechanical behavior of methane hydrate-bearing sediments is crucial for sustainable future gas production. There are a number of triaxial experiments conducted over synthetic and natural methane hydrate (MH)-bearing sediments, and several soil constitutive models have been proposed to describe their behavior. However, the generality of a sophisticated model is questioned if it is tested only for a limited number of cases. Furthermore, it is difficult to experimentally determine the associated parameters if their physical meanings and significance are not elucidated. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate that a simple extension of the critical state framework is sufficient to capture the geomechanical behavior of MH-bearing soils from various sources around the world, while the significance of each parameter is quantified through variance-based global sensitivity analyses. Our results show that the influence of hydrates can be largely represented by one hydrate-dependent parameter, P’cd’, which controls the expansion of the initial yield surface. This is validated through comparisons with shearing and volumetric response of MH-bearing soils tested at various institutes under different confining stresses and with varying degrees of hydrate saturation. Our study suggests that the behavior of MH-bearing soils can be reasonably predicted based on P’cdand the conventional critical state parameters of the host sediments that can be obtained through typical geotechnical testing procedures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5580-5595
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • critical state soil mechanics
  • gas hydrates
  • geomechanics
  • global sensitivity analysis
  • hydrate-bearing sediments
  • parameter determination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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