Dating and constraining leakage rates from a natural analogue for CO2 storage - the little grand wash and salt wash fault

N. M. Burnside, B. Dockrill, Z. K. Shipton, R. M. Ellam

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Capture and Storage of CO2 could decrease global carbon emissions on short time scales. Leakage rates from geological formations are poorly constrained, and are therefore an unknown factor in CCS feasibility studies. Natural CO2 reservoirs in the Colorado Plateau, USA, are analogues for geological storage. In places CO2 has migrated to the surface along fault zones, forming CO2-charged springs and geysers. Recent drilling for oil and water has also provided rapid pathways for CO2 migration. Uranium-series dating of travertine mounds along two fault zones in Utah has provided insight to the timing and rates of leakage along these faults. A continuous record of leakage has been preserved over the last 315ka, with the oldest dated mound at 413ka. The position of leakage has switched through time, and individual pathways have been utilised more than once for flow. Combining dates with volume measurements from these mounds it is possible to calculate the rates and volumes of flow in individual pathways and the long-term time-averaged CO2 leakage rate for the entire system. The observation that leakage of CO2-rich groundwater from a fault can occur for hundreds of thousands of years has implications for geological storage of CO2.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009
Event2nd International Fault and Top Seals Conference: From Pore to Basin Scale - Montpellier, France
Duration: 21 Sep 200924 Sep 2009


Conference2nd International Fault and Top Seals Conference: From Pore to Basin Scale


  • capture and storage of CO2
  • geological storage
  • feasibility studies
  • Colorado Plateau
  • carbon dioxide
  • groundwater
  • CO2 migration
  • leakage rates

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