Gas hydrate decomposition is hypothesized to be a factor in generating weakness in continental margin sediments that may help explain some of the observed patterns of continental margin sediment instability. The processes associated with formation and decomposition of gas hydrate can cause the strengthening of sediments in which gas hydrate grow and the weakening of sediments in which gas hydrate decomposes. The weakened sediments may form horizons along which the potential for sediment failure is increased. While a causal relationship between slope failures and gas hydrate decomposition has not been proven, a number of empirical observations support their potential connection.

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