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Title: Release of radiogenic noble gases as a new signal of rock deformation

In this paper we investigate the release of radiogenic noble gas isotopes during mechanical deformation. We developed an analytical system for dynamic mass spectrometry of noble gas composition and helium release rate of gas produced during mechanical deformation of rocks. Our results indicate that rocks release accumulated radiogenic helium and argon from mineral grains as they undergo deformation. We found that the release of accumulated 4He and 40Ar from rocks follows a reproducible pattern and can provide insight into the deformation process. Increased gas release can be observed before dilation, and macroscopic failure is observed during high-pressure triaxial rock deformation experiments. Accumulated radiogenic noble gases can be released due to fracturing of mineral grains during small-scale strain in Earth materials. Helium and argon are highly mobile, conservative species and could be used to provide information on changes in the state of stress and strain in Earth materials, and as an early warning signal of macroscopic failure. These results pave the way for the use of noble gases to trace and monitor rock deformation for earthquake prediction and a variety of other subsurface engineering projects.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
  2. Univ. of Montana, Missoula, MT (United States)
  3. Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC04-94AL85000
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 43; Journal Issue: 20; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; noble gases; deformation; geomechanics; gas release; tracers; mass spectrometry
OSTI Identifier:
1418468

Bauer, Stephen J., Gardner, W. Payton, and Lee, Hyunwoo. Release of radiogenic noble gases as a new signal of rock deformation. United States: N. p., Web. doi:10.1002/2016GL070876.
Bauer, Stephen J., Gardner, W. Payton, & Lee, Hyunwoo. Release of radiogenic noble gases as a new signal of rock deformation. United States. doi:10.1002/2016GL070876.
Bauer, Stephen J., Gardner, W. Payton, and Lee, Hyunwoo. 2016. "Release of radiogenic noble gases as a new signal of rock deformation". United States. doi:10.1002/2016GL070876. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1418468.
@article{osti_1418468,
title = {Release of radiogenic noble gases as a new signal of rock deformation},
author = {Bauer, Stephen J. and Gardner, W. Payton and Lee, Hyunwoo},
abstractNote = {In this paper we investigate the release of radiogenic noble gas isotopes during mechanical deformation. We developed an analytical system for dynamic mass spectrometry of noble gas composition and helium release rate of gas produced during mechanical deformation of rocks. Our results indicate that rocks release accumulated radiogenic helium and argon from mineral grains as they undergo deformation. We found that the release of accumulated 4He and 40Ar from rocks follows a reproducible pattern and can provide insight into the deformation process. Increased gas release can be observed before dilation, and macroscopic failure is observed during high-pressure triaxial rock deformation experiments. Accumulated radiogenic noble gases can be released due to fracturing of mineral grains during small-scale strain in Earth materials. Helium and argon are highly mobile, conservative species and could be used to provide information on changes in the state of stress and strain in Earth materials, and as an early warning signal of macroscopic failure. These results pave the way for the use of noble gases to trace and monitor rock deformation for earthquake prediction and a variety of other subsurface engineering projects.},
doi = {10.1002/2016GL070876},
journal = {Geophysical Research Letters},
number = 20,
volume = 43,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {10}
}