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Authors: Lombardi, S.* 
Voltattorni, N.* 
Title: Rn, He and CO2 soil gas geochemistry for the study of active and inactive faults
Issue Date: 20-May-2010
Series/Report no.: /25(2010)
DOI: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2010.05.006
Keywords: gas geochemistry
blind faults
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.02. Exploration geophysics::04.02.01. Geochemical exploration 
Abstract: Two Italian areas, characterized by different seismological histories, were investigated to enhance the basic knowledge of gas migration mechanisms during earthquakes. Sharp variations occur in the movement and concentration of some gaseous species due to the evolution of the local stress regime. The first area (Colpasquale) is located in the central Italian region of Marche and provided a good location to study gas migration in a seismically active region. The area was devastated by a sequence of shallow earthquakes over a 3 month-long period (September–December, 1997). The occurrence of this catastrophic event, as well as the long duration of the ‘‘seismic sequence”, presented a unique opportunity to study gas migration in a zone undergoing active displacement. Soil gas surveys were performed 1 day, 1 week, 1 year and 2 years after the main shock (Ms 5.6) in the Colpasquale area. In particular, results highlight a change in the Rn distribution during the three monitoring years indicating a variation of gas migration that may be linked to the evolution of the stress regime. The second study area is located in the Campidano Graben (southern part of Sardinia Island). This area is characterized by seismic quiescence, displaying an almost complete lack of historical earthquakes and instrumentally recorded seismicity. The consistently low values observed for all analyzed gases suggest that the studied area is likely characterized by sealed, non-active faults that prevent significant gas migration. The comparison of data from both studied areas indicate that soil gas geochemistry is useful to locate tectonic discontinuities even when they intersect non-cohesive clastic rocks near the surface and thus are not visible (i.e., ‘‘blind faults”).
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