Pulses of carbon dioxide emissions from intracrustal faults following climatic warming

Kampman, N., Burnside, N. M. , Shipton, Z. K., Chapman, H. J., Nicholl, J. A., Ellam, R. M. and Bickle, M.J. (2012) Pulses of carbon dioxide emissions from intracrustal faults following climatic warming. Nature Geoscience, 5(5), pp. 352-358. (doi:10.1038/NGEO1451)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/NGEO1451

Abstract

Carbon capture and geological storage represents a potential means of managing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Understanding the role of faults, as either barriers or conduits to the flow of carbon dioxide, is crucial for predicting the long-term integrity of geological storage sites. Of particular concern is the influence of geochemical reactions on the sealing behaviour of faults and the impact of seismicity and stress regime on fault stability. Here, we examine a 135,000-year palaeorecord of carbon dioxide leakage from a faulted, natural carbon dioxide reservoir in Utah. We assess the isotope and trace-element composition of U–Th-dated carbonate veins, deposited by carbon-dioxide-rich fluids. Temporal changes in vein geochemistry reveal pulses of carbon dioxide injection into the reservoir from deeper formations. Surface leakage rates increase by several orders of magnitude following these pulses. We show that each pulse occurs around 100–2,000 years after the onset of significant local climatic warming, at glacial to interglacial transitions. We suggest that carbon dioxide leakage rates increase as a result of fracture opening, potentially caused by changes in groundwater hydrology, the intermittent presence of a buoyant gas cap and postglacial crustal unloading of regions surrounding the fault.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ellam, Professor Robert and Shipton, Dr Zoe and Burnside, Dr Neil
Authors: Kampman, N., Burnside, N. M., Shipton, Z. K., Chapman, H. J., Nicholl, J. A., Ellam, R. M., and Bickle, M.J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Nature Geoscience
ISSN:1752-0894
Published Online:22 April 2012

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