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Title: 87Sr/86Sr Concentrations in the Appalachian Basin: A Review

This document reviews 87Sr/86Sr isotope data across the Appalachian Basin from existing literature to show spatial and temporal variation. Isotope geochemistry presents a means of understanding the geochemical effects hydraulic fracturing may have on shallow ground substrates. Isotope fractionation is a naturally occurring phenomenon brought about by physical, chemical, and biological processes that partition isotopes between substances; therefore, stable isotope geochemistry allows geoscientists to understand several processes that shape the natural world. Strontium isotopes can be used as a tool to answer an array of geological and environmental inquiries. In some cases, strontium isotopes are sensitive to the introduction of a non-native fluid into a system. This ability allows strontium isotopes to serve as tracers in certain systems. Recently, it has been demonstrated that strontium isotopes can serve as a monitoring tool for groundwater and surface water systems that may be affected by hydraulic fracturing fluids (Chapman et al., 2013; Kolesar Kohl et al., 2014). These studies demonstrated that 87Sr/86Sr values have the potential to monitor subsurface fluid migration in regions where extraction of Marcellus Shale gas is occurring. This document reviews publicly available strontium isotope data from 39 sample locations in the Appalachian Basin (Hamel et al., 2010; Chapmanmore » et al., 2012; Osborn et al., 2012; Chapman et al., 2013; Capo et al., 2014; Kolesar Kohl et al., 2014). The data is divided into two sets: stratigraphic (Upper Devonian/Lower Mississippi, Middle Devonian, and Silurian) and groundwater. ArcMap™ (ESRI, Inc.) was used to complete inverse distance weighting (IDW) analyses for each dataset to create interpolated surfaces in an attempt to find regional trends or variations in strontium isotopic values across the Appalachian Basin. 87Sr/86Sr varies up to ~ 0.011 across the Appalachian Basin, but the current publicly available data is limited in frequency and regional extent, causing artifacts and high uncertainty when interpolating data for locations far from sampling sites. These factors highlight the need for additional strontium isotope sampling across the region. Identifying potential contamination from hydraulic fracturing fluid in Appalachian Basin groundwater using strontium isotopes would require additional sampling. For a more comprehensive strontium isotope database, samples would need to be collected during prefracturing, syn-fracturing, and post-fracturing stages. This would add a temporal component to the spatial data and make tracing of fluid migration with strontium isotopes more accurate. Future research and modeling that incorporates subsurface geology and watershed data would also serve to increase the accuracy and certainty of the interpolations of these analyses. Prospective geospatial Appalachian Basin isotope studies would also benefit from the integration of geologic mapping because surface and subsurface geology influences observed strontium isotope values.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Oak Ridge Inst. for Science and Education (ORISE), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); National Energy Technology Lab. (NETL), Albany, OR (United States)
  2. National Energy Technology Lab. (NETL), Albany, OR (United States)
  3. National Energy Technology Lab. (NETL), Pittsburgh, PA, (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
National Energy Technology Lab. (NETL), Albany, OR (United States); Oak Ridge Inst. for Science and Education (ORISE), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE)
Country of Publication:
United States