Diffused flow of molecular hydrogen through the Western Hajar mountains, Northern Oman

  • Viacheslav ZgonnikEmail author
  • Valérie Beaumont
  • Nikolay Larin
  • Daniel Pillot
  • Eric Deville
Original Paper


We report the discovery of a general, diffused flow of molecular hydrogen (H2) through the Western Hajar mountains of Northern Oman. H2 was detected across a fracture system in the peridotites of the Semail ophiolite massif, and no traces of this gas were found in unfractured peridotites. H2 seeps in these rocks have been classically interpreted to be the result of reduction of groundwater during the process of peridotite serpentinization. However, there is evidence of hydrogen seepage in other geological units of Northern Oman, particularly in the Precambrian to Early Permian metamorphic sequences of the Jebel Akhdar massif, and to a lesser extent in the Hawasina sequence underthrust beneath the ophiolitic units. As a consequence, hydrogen flows are also being detected from geological formations structurally located below the ophiolites. Our sampling shows that increased flow is not observed in the peridotites, but in the deeper stratigraphic and structural units (Upper Proterozoic). These observations suggest a source of H2 existing below the ophiolites. Minimum estimated H2 flows using various methods range from 70 to 150 m3/km2 per day from peridotites and up to 1300 m3/km2 per day from the Upper Proterozoic.


Hydrogen Flow Seepages Seeps Ophiolite Serpentinization 



We thank Mr. Said Ahmed Al-Hattaly from the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources of Sultanate of Oman for the assistance in handling gas and water samples. We also thank Alexander Caruana for the proofreading of this paper.

Author contribution

VZ, VB, ED, and NL proposed the topic and conceived and designed the study. All authors carried out the experimental study. VZ, VB, ED, and NL analyzed the data and helped in their interpretation. VB, ED, and NL collaborated with the corresponding author VZ in the preparation of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Supplementary material

12517_2019_4242_MOESM1_ESM.xls (114 kb)
ESM 1 (XLS 113 kb)


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IFP Energies nouvellesRueil-Malmaison CédexFrance
  2. 2.Natural Hydrogen Energy LLCGreeleyUSA
  3. 3.Schmidt Institute of Physics of the EarthRussian Academy of ScienceMoscowRussian Federation

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