Geochemical Analyses of Surface and Shallow Gas Flux and Composition Over a Proposed Carbon Sequestration Site in Eastern Kentucky

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Using soil gas chemistry to detect leakage from underground reservoirs (i.e. microseepage) requires that the natural range of soil gas flux and chemistry be fully characterized. To meet this need, soil gas flux (CO{sub 2}, CH{sub 4}) and the bulk (CO{sub 2}, CH{sub 4}) and isotopic chemistry ({delta}{sup 13}C-CO2) of shallow soil gases (<1 m, 3.3 ft) were measured at 25 locations distributed among two active oil and gas fields, an active strip mine, and a relatively undisturbed research forest in eastern Kentucky. The measurements apportion the biologic, atmospheric, and geologic influences on soil gas composition under varying degrees of ... continued below

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Parris, Thomas; Solis, Michael & Takacs, Kathryn December 31, 2009.

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Using soil gas chemistry to detect leakage from underground reservoirs (i.e. microseepage) requires that the natural range of soil gas flux and chemistry be fully characterized. To meet this need, soil gas flux (CO{sub 2}, CH{sub 4}) and the bulk (CO{sub 2}, CH{sub 4}) and isotopic chemistry ({delta}{sup 13}C-CO2) of shallow soil gases (<1 m, 3.3 ft) were measured at 25 locations distributed among two active oil and gas fields, an active strip mine, and a relatively undisturbed research forest in eastern Kentucky. The measurements apportion the biologic, atmospheric, and geologic influences on soil gas composition under varying degrees of human surface disturbance. The measurements also highlight potential challenges in using soil gas chemistry as a monitoring tool where the surface cover consists of reclaimed mine land or is underlain by shallow coals. For example, enrichment of ({delta}{sup 13}C-CO2) and high CH{sub 4} concentrations in soils have been historically used as indicators of microseepage, but in the reclaimed mine lands similar soil chemistry characteristics likely result from dissolution of carbonate cement in siliciclastic clasts having {delta}{sup 13}C values close to 0{per_thousand} and degassing of coal fragments. The gases accumulate in the reclaimed mine land soils because intense compaction reduces soil permeability, thereby impeding equilibration with the atmosphere. Consequently, the reclaimed mine lands provide a false microseepage anomaly. Further potential challenges arise from low permeability zones associated with compacted soils in reclaimed mine lands and shallow coals in undisturbed areas that might impede upward gas migration. To investigate the effect of these materials on gas migration and composition, four 10 m (33 ft) deep monitoring wells were drilled in reclaimed mine material and in undisturbed soils with and without coals. The wells, configured with sampling zones at discrete intervals, show the persistence of some of the aforementioned anomalies at depth. Moreover, high CO{sub 2} concentrations associated with coals in the vadose zone suggest a strong affinity for adsorbing CO{sub 2}. Overall, the low permeability of reclaimed mine lands and coals and CO2 adsorption by the latter is likely to reduce the ability of surface geochemistry tools to detect a microseepage signal.

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: FC26-05NT42436
  • DOI: 10.2172/981921 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 981921
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1015161

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  • December 31, 2009

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 14, 2017, 8:36 a.m.

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  • Oct. 19, 2017, 8:12 p.m.

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Parris, Thomas; Solis, Michael & Takacs, Kathryn. Geochemical Analyses of Surface and Shallow Gas Flux and Composition Over a Proposed Carbon Sequestration Site in Eastern Kentucky, report, December 31, 2009; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1015161/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.