The migration of deep gas to the atmosphere along faults and associated structures is important in many fields, from studying the natural contribution of atmospheric greenhouse gases leaking from geothermal areas to ensuring the safety of man-made natural gas and carbon dioxide CO2 geologic-storage sites. Nearsurface geophysical and geochemical techniques were applied to a naturally occurring gas vent located along a deep terrestrial fault to better understand the structure and geophysical response of this gas-migration pathway. A number of ground-penetrating radar GPR profiles were first conducted across the vent. Spot samples were then measured along one of these profiles for in situ apparent permittivity using time-domain reflectometry — TDR, complex permittivity on dried samples using a capacitive cell, soil-gas composition, and clay and bulk mineralogy. Results show how the migrating gas induces secondary effects that modify the signature of the vent as seen in the GPR profiles. In particular, high flux rates across the vent core i.e., the central portion of the vent result in a total lack of vegetation, which in turn leads to high water content that is likely responsible, together with increased bulk conductivity, for GPR signal blanking. In the transition zone surrounding the core, a water-content minimum and other changes contribute to a deeper GPR signal penetration that highlights dipping events. Data show that the structure itself is slightly asymmetrical, which may indicate more fracturing to one side of the feature. This study shows that GPR surveys are capable of imaging secondary effects induced by gas migration in soils above a structural discontinuity, even if the structure itself cannot be imaged.
GPR, TDR, and geochemistry measurements above an active gas vent to study near-surface gas-migration pathways / Elena, Pettinelli; Beaubien, Stanley Eugene; Lombardi, Salvatore; A., Peter Annan. - In: GEOPHYSICS. - ISSN 0016-8033. - 73:1(2008), pp. A11-A15. [10.1190/1.2815991]