Glacially-induced hydromechanical coupling in shale may have caused underpressured water in the eastern Michigan Basin despite the possible presence of gas phase methane

Geophysical Research Letters
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Abstract

When glacial cycles occur above low-permeability geologic formations, such as the shale and limestone units being considered for nuclear waste disposal in Canada, pressures may differ greatly from normal hydrostatic conditions. Although shale also often has the propensity to generate separate phase fluids like natural gas, it is largely uncertain how the processes that control this behavior might affect water pressure evolution during loading cycles. Therefore, this study investigates the relationships among these fundamental system components via an example site that exhibits both a dramatic underpressure and potential evidence for gas phase methane in situ. A simple 1-D representation of the site was constructed, and hydromechanical coupling during a glacial cycle was simulated with and without gas phase methane present. Results indicate that, while the presence of gas phase dampened the effects of the loading cycle due to its higher compressibility compared to water, it did not preclude underpressure development.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Glacially-induced hydromechanical coupling in shale may have caused underpressured water in the eastern Michigan Basin despite the possible presence of gas phase methane
Series title Geophysical Research Letters
DOI 10.1029/2019GL083027
Volume 46
Issue 14
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) WMA - Earth System Processes Division
Description 8 p.
First page 8125
Last page 8132
Country Canada
State Ontario
County Bruce County