From: University of Windsor
Published August 29, 2017 08:19 AM

Methane can naturally contaminate groundwater, researchers find

A team of researchers from the University of Windsor and the University of Saskatchewan have discovered that methane can naturally migrate upwards through shale over millions of years and reach groundwater without any industry influence.

“Upward migration of methane through low-porosity zones raises awareness that groundwater wells can be naturally contaminated by deeper sources of methane,” says Scott Mundle, an assistant professor of chemistry in the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research. “This is an important consideration when investigating potential causal links between fracking and an impacted water well.”

Dr. Mundle recently co-authored the article “Fate and Transport of Shale-derived, Biogenic Methane,” published in July by Scientific Reports, an open-access subsidiary of the journal Nature.

Mundle uses stable isotope geoforensics to identify the sources of gases, fluids, and contaminants released into the environment from industry. A key component of his work in the oil and gas sector is to develop high-resolution geochemical profiles that “fingerprint” the baseline conditions in an area of operation.

 

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