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Natural geological seepage of hydrocarbon gas in the Appalachian Basin and Midwest USA in relation to shale tectonic fracturing and past industrial hydrocarbon production

Schimmelmann, Arndt and Ensminger, Scott A. and Drobniak, Agnieszka and Mastalerz, Maria and Etiope, Giuseppe and Jacobi, Robert D. and Frankenberg, Christian (2018) Natural geological seepage of hydrocarbon gas in the Appalachian Basin and Midwest USA in relation to shale tectonic fracturing and past industrial hydrocarbon production. Science of the Total Environment, 644 . pp. 982-993. ISSN 0048-9697. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20180713-155542387

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Abstract

Geological hydrocarbon gas seepage is a major global source of atmospheric methane, ethane and propane as greenhouse gases and photochemical pollutants. Natural gas seepage is generally related to faults and associated fracture intensification domains that provide conduits for natural gas from reservoir rocks to migrate upward and enter the atmosphere. In this study, we compare the case of intense gas seepage stemming directly from source rocks, mostly organic-rich fractured black shales in western New York State (NYS) versus areas with rare seepage in the more southern regions of the Appalachian Basin and the Midwest USA. In addition to thermogenic methane, western NYS shale gas seeps emit ethane and propane with C_(2+3) gas concentrations reaching up to 35 vol%. Fractures in NYS developed, reactivated and maintained permeability for gas as a result of Quaternary glaciation and post-glacial basin uplift. In contrast, the Appalachian regions farther south and the southern Midwest regions experienced less glacial loading and unloading than in NYS, resulting in less recent natural fracturing, as witnessed by the rarity of seepage on surface outcrops and in caves overlying gas-bearing shales and coals. The historical literature suggests that early western NYS drilling and production of oil and gas diminished shale gas pressure and resulted in declining gas seepage rates. Our survey documented 12 active western NYS natural gas seeps, whereas >32 seeps have been reported or documented since the 17th century. Preliminary tests showed that SCIAMACHY satellite data did not detect atmospheric methane anomalies over western NYS seeps.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.06.374DOIArticle
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Schimmelmann, Arndt0000-0003-4648-5253
Frankenberg, Christian0000-0002-0546-5857
Additional Information:© 2018 Elsevier B.V. Received 20 April 2018, Revised 17 June 2018, Accepted 29 June 2018, Available online 11 July 2018.
Subject Keywords:Eternal flame; Fracture; Gas seep; Geological fault; Greenhouse gas emission; Historical drilling; Methane; Remote sensing; Seepage; Shale gas
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180713-155542387
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20180713-155542387
Official Citation:Arndt Schimmelmann, Scott A. Ensminger, Agnieszka Drobniak, Maria Mastalerz, Giuseppe Etiope, Robert D. Jacobi, Christian Frankenberg, Natural geological seepage of hydrocarbon gas in the Appalachian Basin and Midwest USA in relation to shale tectonic fracturing and past industrial hydrocarbon production, Science of The Total Environment, Volume 644, 2018, Pages 982-993, ISSN 0048-9697, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.06.374. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969718324513)
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:87855
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:13 Jul 2018 23:24
Last Modified:13 Jul 2018 23:24

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