Environmental conditions affecting concentrations of He, CO2, O2 and N2 in soil gases

Applied Geochemistry



The measurement of concentrations of volatile species in soil gases has potential for use in geochemical exploration for concealed ore deposits and for monitoring of subsurface contaminants. However, the interpretation of anomalies in surficial gases can be difficult because soil-gas concentrations are dependent on both meteorological and environmental conditions.

For this study, concentrations of He, CO2, O2 and N2 and meteorological conditions were monitored for 10–14 months at eight nonmineralized sites in both humid and dry environments. Gases were collected at 0.6–0.7-m depth at seven sites. At one site, gases were collected from 0.3-, 0.6-, 1.2-, and 2.0-m depths; diurnal monitoring studies were conducted at this site also. Rain and snowfall, soil and air temperatures, barometric pressure, and relative humidity were monitored at all the sites. The sand, silt and clay content, and the organic carbon content of surficial soil were measured at each site.

Meteorological conditions generally affected He and CO2 concentrations in the same way at all the sites; however, these effects were modified by local environmental conditions. Both seasonal and diurnal concentration changes occurred. The most important seasonal concentration changes were related to rain and snowfall and soil and air temperatures. Seasonal changes tended to be larger then the diurnal changes, but both could be related to the same processes. Local conditions of soil type and organic content affected the amount of pore space and moisture present in the soil and therefore the soil-gas concentrations.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Environmental conditions affecting concentrations of He, CO2, O2 and N2 in soil gases
Series title Applied Geochemistry
DOI 10.1016/0883-2927(94)90052-3
Volume 9
Issue 1
Year Published 1994
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Description 11 p.
First page 53
Last page 63
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