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Title: Detecting connectivity between an overlying aquifer and a coal seam gas resource using methane isotopes, dissolved organic carbon and tritium
Authors: Iverach, CP
Cendón, DI
Hankin, SI
Lowry, D
Fisher, RE
France, JL
Nisbet, EG
Baker, AA
Kelly, BFJ
Keywords: Aquifers
Coal seams
Issue Date: 9-Sep-2015
Publisher: Association of Australian Cotton Scientists
Citation: Iverach, C. P., Cendón, D. I., Hankin, S. I., Lowry, D., Fisher, R. E., France, J. L., Nisbet, E. G., Baker, A., Kelly, B. F. J. (2015). Detecting connectivity between an overlying aquifer and a coal seam gas resource using methane isotopes, dissolved organic carbon and tritium. Presentation to the 2nd Australian Cotton Research Conference, "Science securing cotton's future", University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, 8-10 September 2015. (p.38). Retrieved from:
Abstract: There is public concern that coal seam gas (CSG) production will affect groundwater quality and quantity in overlying aquifers used to support irrigation, stock and domestic water supplies. To assess this risk there is a need to map pathways of hydraulic connectivity using geochemical and isotopic measurements. We demonstrate that measurements of methane (CH4) concentration and isotopic composition, dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration and tritium (3H) activity data highlight potential pathways of hydraulic connectivity between the Walloon Coal Measures (WCM – the target formation for CSG production) and the Condamine Alluvium, south-east Queensland, Australia. At 19 locations, both groundwater and degassing air samples were collected from irrigation bores. Degassing air samples were pumped into 3 L Tedlar bags. This air was analysed for both its methane concentration and isotopic signature. The groundwater was analysed for 3H and [DOC]. To determine the isotopic signature of the WCM, CH4 ambient air samples were collected adjacent to CSG coproduced water holding ponds. We use isotope mixing plots to identify the isotopic source signature of CH4 in the air samples from the degassing irrigation bores and those adjacent to CSG water holding ponds. Within the mixing plots samples graph along clear trend lines, which allows gas sources to be assigned. These trends in the mixing plots indicate potential local hydraulic connectivity between the WCM and the overlying Condamine Alluvium.
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