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Authors: Chiodini, G.* 
Caliro, S.* 
Cardellini, C.* 
Frondini, F.* 
Inguaggiato, S.* 
Matteucci, F.* 
Title: Geochemical evidence for and characterization of CO2 rich gas sources in the epicentral area of the Abruzzo 2009 earthquakes
Journal: Earth and Planetary Science Letters 
Series/Report no.: /304 (2011)
Publisher: Elsevier
Issue Date: 2011
DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2011.02.016
Keywords: carbon dioxide
Abruzzo earthquakes
carbon isotopes
helium isotopes
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.12. Fluid Geochemistry 
04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.03. Earthquake source and dynamics 
04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.06. Surveys, measurements, and monitoring 
04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.10. Instruments and techniques 
Abstract: We describe the results of a detailed hydrogeochemical campaign on the groundwater circulating in two regional aquifers located in the area of the Abruzzo 2009 earthquakes. The influx of deeply derived CO2 rich gases into the two aquifers is highlighted by the 13C isotopic composition of dissolved carbon species. The source of the gas is roughly localised beneath the epicentral area of the earthquakes where the presence of sources of fluids under high pressure is suggested by seismological investigations. The carbon isotopic-mass balance of the aquifers indicates that the amount of the deep CO2 dissolved and transported by the groundwaters is ~530 t/day. The chemical and isotopic composition of the gas entering the aquifers, named Abruzzo gas, has been derived by comparing the data measured in the springs with the results of a gas–water– rock reaction model, that simulates the evolution of the chemical and isotopic composition of groundwater affected by the input of a deeply-derived CO2 rich gas phase. The composition of Abruzzo gas is compared to that of 40 large gas emissions located in central Italy. The gas becomes progressively richer in radiogenic elements (4He and 40Ar) and in N2, from the volcanic complexes in the west to the Apennines in the east. The Abruzzo gas, in agreement with its location, well matches the composition of the gases emitted in the pre- Apennine region. These geochemical features, consistent with the structural setting of the region, indicate increasing residence times of the gas in the crust moving from west to east. In particular we suggest that the strong increase in radiogenic crustal gases reflects the occurrence of deep traps where the gas is stored at high pressures for a long time and that such high pressure gas pockets play a major role in the generation of Apennine earthquakes.
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