Assessing connectivity between an overlying aquifer and a coal seam gas resource using methane isotopes, dissolved organic carbon and tritium

Iverach, Charlotte P., Cendón, Dioni I., Hankin, Stuart I., Lowry, David, Fisher, Rebecca E., France, James L., Nisbet, Euan G., Baker, Andy and Kelly, Bryce F. J. (2015) Assessing connectivity between an overlying aquifer and a coal seam gas resource using methane isotopes, dissolved organic carbon and tritium. Scientific Reports, 5. ISSN 2045-2322

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Abstract

Coal seam gas (CSG) production can have an impact on groundwater quality and quantity in adjacent or overlying aquifers. To assess this impact we need to determine the background groundwater chemistry and to map geological pathways of hydraulic connectivity between aquifers. In south-east Queensland (Qld), Australia, a globally important CSG exploration and production province, we mapped hydraulic connectivity between the Walloon Coal Measures (WCM, the target formation for gas production) and the overlying Condamine River Alluvial Aquifer (CRAA), using groundwater methane (CH4) concentration and isotopic composition (δ13C-CH4), groundwater tritium (3H) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration. A continuous mobile CH4 survey adjacent to CSG developments was used to determine the source signature of CH4 derived from the WCM. Trends in groundwater δ13C-CH4 versus CH4 concentration, in association with DOC concentration and 3H analysis, identify locations where CH4 in the groundwater of the CRAA most likely originates from the WCM. The methodology is widely applicable in unconventional gas development regions worldwide for providing an early indicator of geological pathways of hydraulic connectivity.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
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Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2015 08:23
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2019 21:32
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/55464
DOI: 10.1038/srep15996

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