Assessing patterns of dissolved methane in shallow aquifers related to Carboniferous and Triassic sedimentary basins, Nova Scotia, Canada

Gavin W. Kennedy, John M. Drage

Abstract


The study examines patterns of groundwater methane in shallow aquifers located in Carboniferous and Triassic sedimentary basins in Nova Scotia to improve our understanding of the factors influencing the observed distribution. A combined total of over 800 dissolved methane samples were collected from water wells during surveys conducted in 1975 and 2013. Statistical analyses of the methane data did not detect a significant difference between groupings of methane concentrations for aquifer type, bedrock group, and distance to wetlands. A significant difference, however, was observed between sedimentary basins and bedrock formations, which was largely attributed to localized higher methane concentrations found in the Stellarton Formation/basin compared to other on-shore sedimentary basins of the province. A significant difference was also found between groupings of methane data based on the distance to major stream systems, which was used to indicate topographic position (i.e., valley vs. upslope). The low sample density and percentage of detectable methane concentrations, and the multiple sources of dissolved methane in shallow groundwater in sedimentary basins made it difficult to detect and interpret statistical and spatial trends. Geochemical classification indicates that elevated dissolved methane in well water is associated with sodium dominated groundwater.


Keywords


methane; groundwater; sedimentary basins; geochemistry

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4138/atlgeol.2015.009