Underground carbon sequestration a concern for cavers?

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Underground carbon sequestration a concern for cavers?

Postby Teresa » Mar 14, 2006 5:21 pm

I have rarely started a thread, but reading the latest GeoTimes magazine (as in a couple of issues back) there are people seriously proposing to store excess CO2 underground in geological formations.

It seems to me this is something cavers would want to be aware of and monitor. At this point, they are talking about CO2 pumping into declining oil and gas wells to extract the last dregs of hydrocarbons (this already goes on to some extent). Other places also proposed have been coal mines, and saline aquifers. Since all of these occur in sedimentary rocks, it isn't often that far to the nearest limestone, dolostone, gypsum or sandstone, and you can imagine what a nice pressured pumping of CO2 would likely to any carbonates or carbonated cemented material. The technique calls for using rock formations with shale caps but I seriously wonder (from a caver's and subterranean biologist's standpoint) if anyone has thought beyond their noses as to the effects this would have on subterranean life, not to mention the activity of caving into an area where such injections are taking place. Homeowners, too could be affected by loose plumes of CO2, or CO2 enriched water causing structural weakening and subsidence. GeoTimes is a publication of the AGI, of which the NSS is a member. I've never heard any downsides to this plan expressed. One of the government sites says natural natural gas caverns and old mines where NG is stored would not be considered; my wondering is what about new caverns formed as CO2 moves around underground. True, it is heavy as a gas goes, but even heavier than water fluids migrate underground.

Comments?

Websites for reference:
http://cdiac2.esd.ornl.gov/
http://www.llnl.gov/str/Johnson.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_sink
http://www.memagazine.org/backissues/fe ... bonug.html
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Postby caverbill » Mar 20, 2006 4:21 pm

There are some companies near me that are storing natural gas in some "salt domes". Large man made caverns created during the SALT mining. It seems crazy to me to think you could store gas in a natural chamber. Too much plumbing that will allow leakage.

We all need to be preaching that the carbon be put back where it has been lost and is drastically needed, which is in the soil. Planting trees is nice, but if we increase soil organic matter by 1% worldwide, we would not be talking about CO2.
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Re: Underground carbon sequestration a concern for cavers?

Postby hydrology_joe » Mar 30, 2006 11:28 am

Teresa wrote:I have rarely started a thread, but reading the latest GeoTimes magazine (as in a couple of issues back) there are people seriously proposing to store excess CO2 underground in geological formations.

It seems to me this is something cavers would want to be aware of and monitor. At this point, they are talking about CO2 pumping into declining oil and gas wells to extract the last dregs of hydrocarbons (this already goes on to some extent). Other places also proposed have been coal mines, and saline aquifers. Since all of these occur in sedimentary rocks, it isn't often that far to the nearest limestone, dolostone, gypsum or sandstone, and you can imagine what a nice pressured pumping of CO2 would likely to any carbonates or carbonated cemented material. The technique calls for using rock formations with shale caps but I seriously wonder (from a caver's and subterranean biologist's standpoint) if anyone has thought beyond their noses as to the effects this would have on subterranean life, not to mention the activity of caving into an area where such injections are taking place. Homeowners, too could be affected by loose plumes of CO2, or CO2 enriched water causing structural weakening and subsidence. GeoTimes is a publication of the AGI, of which the NSS is a member. I've never heard any downsides to this plan expressed. One of the government sites says natural natural gas caverns and old mines where NG is stored would not be considered; my wondering is what about new caverns formed as CO2 moves around underground. True, it is heavy as a gas goes, but even heavier than water fluids migrate underground.

Comments?

Websites for reference:
http://cdiac2.esd.ornl.gov/
http://www.llnl.gov/str/Johnson.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_sink
http://www.memagazine.org/backissues/fe ... bonug.html


Yes, the petroleum industry has been using the CO2 to force hydrocarbons out of the formations for a long time. There is a lot of information in the Association of American Petroleum Geologists Bulletin about the process. There is just publicity about it now because it is being discussed as an option to battle greenhouse gases and global warming.

With regards to the migration into limestones, etc, you are talking about... the reservoirs they are proposing to sequestor the CO2 in are MUCH DEEPER. (think petroleum reservoir depths)


caverbill wrote:There are some companies near me that are storing natural gas in some "salt domes". Large man made caverns created during the SALT mining. It seems crazy to me to think you could store gas in a natural chamber. Too much plumbing that will allow leakage.


They do that here in Kansas. Check out what happens when the gas from the salt domes leaks... like what happened in Hutchinson KSin January 1991.
What part of "Shall not be infringed" don't you understand?
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Postby Teresa » Apr 1, 2006 1:53 pm

It is true that petroleum reservoirs are very deep...they are also in sedimentary rock, including limestones.

It just seems to me that it would be easier to cut down CO2 emissions than to try to figure out what to do with it after the fact. I like the idea of sequestering those remaining CO2 emissions as a component of artificial rock/building stone at the surface rather than as deep crustal injections. No problem with the oil industry using it as they do currently, but pumping CO2 into the ground as a storage option just sounds like a panacea for which we don't yet know the actual consequences. Injection wells can create some really big problems, as we've seen in other parts of the world.
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Postby hydrology_joe » Jun 22, 2006 1:08 pm

A couple caver / geology friends were drinking :beer30: and discussing this issue the other evening. We came up with I think is a pretty satisfiable plan...(well it sounded good at the time anyways)

Dump a bunch of dissolved iron into the oceans. The limiting nutrient for a lot of foraminiferal (calcareous algae) growth is iron (they have plenty of everything else). The resulting blooms would result in the formation of millions of microscopic calcareous forams. When those forams die, the calcareous parts will settle to the ocean and form calcareous ooze. The CO2 that is taken up from the ocean in the formation of the foram calcareous parts will be replaced by shallow mixing from atmospheric CO2. Voila! CO2 will be removed from the atmosphere and a net reduction in greehouse gases would result. :kewl:

(now here's the good part)

All those calcareous oozes will eventually lithify into limestones. A little diagenesis & karstification later and more caves are formed! :grin:

Now isn't everyone happy? :banana:

(like I said, we were having :beer30: at the time)
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Postby Squirrel Girl » Jun 22, 2006 2:08 pm

hydrology_joe wrote:Dump a bunch of dissolved iron into the oceans. The limiting nutrient for a lot of foraminiferal (calcareous algae) growth is iron (they have plenty of everything else).
Uh, er, uh, I think that's been tried by oceanographers who weren't drinking :beer30:
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Postby Amemeba » Jun 22, 2006 10:05 pm

Squirrel Girl wrote:
hydrology_joe wrote:Dump a bunch of dissolved iron into the oceans. The limiting nutrient for a lot of foraminiferal (calcareous algae) growth is iron (they have plenty of everything else).
Uh, er, uh, I think that's been tried by oceanographers who weren't drinking


Be careful, madcap tinkerers, iron enrichment as a catalyst for entrapping atmospheric CO2 is a smug-science fast-step unnecessary tamper with the natural order of things.

(1) A rise in CO2 levels seems to FOLLOW a rise in temperature.

(2) Natural iron enrichment of the oceans resulting in CO2 depletions in the atmosphere is suspect for the big kill off at the end of the Paleozoic.

(3) A high level of atmospheric CO2 is needed to enact a return to the verdant growth that mankind enjoyed back when he ran around naked in the Garden of Eden.

(4) CO2 is our friend.
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Postby Squirrel Girl » Jun 23, 2006 7:33 am

Amemeba wrote: (4) CO2 is our friend.
Well, it's poison ivy's friend, anyway.
http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20060603/fob1.asp

I'd prefer CO2 in moderation, thank you very much.
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Postby Amemeba » Jun 23, 2006 4:37 pm

Squirrel Girl wrote:
Amemeba wrote: (4) CO2 is our friend.
Well, it's poison ivy's friend, anyway.
http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20060603/fob1.asp

I'd prefer CO2 in moderation, thank you very much.


Well, Squirrel Girl...do you like trees?

Striking Results from Brookhaven Ecology Facility:
Trees Grow Faster In Simulated Future CO2-Rich Atmosphere



UPTON, NY - Trees in experimental forest plots bathed in atmospheric carbon dioxide at levels expected by the year 2050 experienced a 25 percent growth increase during the first two years of a continuing project, according to results from an ecological research facility built and co-run by the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory.
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