Migration of carrier and trace gases in the geosphere: an overview Journal Article uri icon

DCO ID 11121/2421-1210-3199-4813-CC

in language

  • eng

year of publication

  • 2002


  • The migration mechanisms of endogenous gases in the geosphere are defined in relation to the fluid-rock conditions and analyzed by basic transport equations. Upon examining the geological factors that influence the physical parameters in the equations in porous and fracture media, and considering the widespread high-permeability of deep subsurface rocks, in terms of fracture aperture, (orders of 10(-2) to 10(1) mm at depths of thousands meters, as suggested by recent crustal surveys) advection of carrier gases, in its several forms (gas-phase flow, water displacement by gas, gas slugs and bubbles) seems to represent a major migration process. Accordingly, in contrast, with early views, the role of gas diffusion and water advection in the transport of endogenous gas to the Earth surface should be strongly minimized in many contexts. In a wide range of geological settings, carrier gases (CO2, CH4) may assume a dominant role in controlling transport and redistribution toward the Earth's surface of trace gases (Rn, He). Bubble movement in fissured rocks seems to be an effective way of rapid (gas velocities in the order of 10(0) to 10(3) m per day) and long-distance gas migration. The evolution from bubble regimes to continuous phase flow and vice versa, as gas pressure and fracture width change, is the most suitable mechanism towards determining the surface geochemical processes of seismo-tectonic, environmental and geo-exploration relevance. The transport effectiveness of trace gases by a carrier gas has yet to be studied in quantitative terms. It is already clear, however, that further studies on the distribution and behavior of trace gases approaching the Earth's surface may not be meaningful unless accompanied by carrier gas dynamics analyses. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V All rights reserved.


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