Wednesday, November 7, 2018

New Zealand: Research to Test Hypothesis that Surface Gases from Rotorua Geothermal Field Actually Come from Deep Underground

Two new GNS Science projects win funding from the prestigious Marsden Fund (News Release)

Project leader
Isabelle Chambefort
A research project at GNS Science that will investigate the emission of greenhouse gases from volcanic areas in the North Island has won funding in this year’s round of the prestigious Marsden Fund.

This project has been awarded $958,000 over three years to test a hypothesis that geothermal gases, which comprise many gases but mainly carbon dioxide, originate from eight or more kilometres below the ground and find their way to the surface via weaknesses in the Earth’s crust.

Such a finding would overturn the view that these gases come from much shallower geological features.

It is well established that about 1000 tonnes of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere from the Rotorua geothermal field every day. But there is little understanding of where the gas comes from or the pathways used to get to the surface.

Project leader Isabelle Chambefort said her team will use a combination of isotope analysis of gases and measurements of gas flows at the surface to trace the origin, transport, and interaction of gases in the Taupo Volcanic Zone.

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