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Title: Evidence for High Rates of Gas Transport in the Deep Subsurface

Abstract

Barometric pumping caused by atmospheric pressure fluctuations contributes to the motion of gases in the vadose zone. While the resulting gas transport is often negligible in unfractured porous rocks, rates of transport in fractured media can be significant. Deep atmospheric pumping has implications for nuclear gas detection, water balance, and contaminant transport. We present results from a tracer test conducted to characterize deep subsurface fractured basalt and investigate the effects of barometric pumping on gaseous contaminant mobility. The tracer test provides data to constrain permeability, porosity, and diffusivity in a numerical representation of the experiment. A numerical model is used to simulate gas flow and dispersive transport under fluctuating pressure conditions. Tracer test and simulation results suggest that barometric pumping induces 10 to 100 times more mixing in the basalt than predicted by gas diffusion alone. Within the basalt fractures, estimates of gas velocity reach maximums of nearly 1,000 m/day.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [1];  [3];  [4]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Newport News Nuclear BWXT Los Alamos (N3B), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  3. Univ. of Minnesota, Duluth, MN (United States). Water Resources Science Graduate Program
  4. New Mexico Inst. of Mining and Technology, Socorro, NM (United States). Dept. of Earth and Environmental Science
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
1504502
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1504503; OSTI ID: 1505976
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-19-22388
Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Grant/Contract Number:  
89233218CNA000001; AC52‐06NA24596
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 46; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; Gas migration atmospheric pumping

Citation Formats

Stauffer, Philip H., Rahn, Thomas A., Ortiz, John Philip, Salazar, Larry J., Boukhalfa, Hakim, Behar, Hannah R., and Snyder, Emily E. Evidence for High Rates of Gas Transport in the Deep Subsurface. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1029/2019GL082394.
Stauffer, Philip H., Rahn, Thomas A., Ortiz, John Philip, Salazar, Larry J., Boukhalfa, Hakim, Behar, Hannah R., & Snyder, Emily E. Evidence for High Rates of Gas Transport in the Deep Subsurface. United States. doi:10.1029/2019GL082394.
Stauffer, Philip H., Rahn, Thomas A., Ortiz, John Philip, Salazar, Larry J., Boukhalfa, Hakim, Behar, Hannah R., and Snyder, Emily E. Sat . "Evidence for High Rates of Gas Transport in the Deep Subsurface". United States. doi:10.1029/2019GL082394.
@article{osti_1504502,
title = {Evidence for High Rates of Gas Transport in the Deep Subsurface},
author = {Stauffer, Philip H. and Rahn, Thomas A. and Ortiz, John Philip and Salazar, Larry J. and Boukhalfa, Hakim and Behar, Hannah R. and Snyder, Emily E.},
abstractNote = {Barometric pumping caused by atmospheric pressure fluctuations contributes to the motion of gases in the vadose zone. While the resulting gas transport is often negligible in unfractured porous rocks, rates of transport in fractured media can be significant. Deep atmospheric pumping has implications for nuclear gas detection, water balance, and contaminant transport. We present results from a tracer test conducted to characterize deep subsurface fractured basalt and investigate the effects of barometric pumping on gaseous contaminant mobility. The tracer test provides data to constrain permeability, porosity, and diffusivity in a numerical representation of the experiment. A numerical model is used to simulate gas flow and dispersive transport under fluctuating pressure conditions. Tracer test and simulation results suggest that barometric pumping induces 10 to 100 times more mixing in the basalt than predicted by gas diffusion alone. Within the basalt fractures, estimates of gas velocity reach maximums of nearly 1,000 m/day.},
doi = {10.1029/2019GL082394},
journal = {Geophysical Research Letters},
number = 7,
volume = 46,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {3}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1029/2019GL082394

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