Molecular and isotopic analyses of core gas samples from 3 permafrost research core holes (92GSCTAGLU, 92GSCKUMAK, 92GSCUNIPKAT; sample core depths ranging from 0.36 to 413.82 m) in the Mackenzie Delta of the Northwest Territories of Canada reveal the presence of hydrocarbon gases from both microbial and thermogenic sources. Analyses of most headspace and blended gas samples from the ice-bonded permafrost portion of the core holes yielded C1/(C2 + C3) hydrocarbon gas ratios and CH4-C isotopic compositions (??13C CH4) indicative of microbially sourced CH4 gas. However, near the base of ice-bonded permafrost and into the underlying non-frozen stratigraphic section, an increase in ethane (C2) concentrations, decreases in C1/(C2 + C3) hydrocarbon gas ratios, and CH4-C isotopic (??13C CH4) data indicate the presence of hydrocarbon gases derived from a thermogenic source. The thermogenic gas below permafrost in the Mackenzie Delta likely migrated from deeper hydrocarbon accumulations and/or directly from thermally mature hydrocarbon source rocks.
Additional publication details
Hydrocarbon gases associated with permafrost in the Mackenzie Delta, Northwest Territories, Canada