Diffused flow of molecular hydrogen through the Western Hajar mountains, Northern Oman
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.
KeywordsHydrogen 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.
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.
- Bruni J, Canepa M, Chiodini G, Cioni R, Cipolli F, Longinelli A, Marini L, Ottonello G, Vetuschi Zuccolini M (2002) Irreversible water-rock mass transfer accompanying the generation of the neutral, Mg-HCO3 and high-pH, Ca-OH spring waters of the Genova province, Italy. Appl Geochem 17:455–474. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0883-2927(01)00113-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- de Boer JZ, Chanton J, Zeitlhöfler M (2007) Homer’s Chimaera fires (SW of Antalya/Turkey); burning abiogenic methane gases; are they generated by a serpentinization process related to alkalic magmatism? Zeitschrift der Dtsch Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften 158:997–1003. https://doi.org/10.1127/1860-1804/2007/0158-0997 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Deville E, Prinzhofer A, Pillot D, Vacquand C (2011) Natural flows of H2 and associated diagenetic processes of atmospheric CO2 capture and sequestration: a study in the ophiolites of Oman. In: Proceedings of the Offshore Mediterranean Conference, OMC 2011, pp 1–9Google Scholar
- Etiope G (2015) Natural gas seepage. Springer International PublishingGoogle Scholar
- Etiope G, Schoell M, Hosgörmez H (2011) Abiotic methane flux from the Chimaera seep and Tekirova ophiolites (Turkey): understanding gas exhalation from low temperature serpentinization and implications for Mars. Earth Planet Sci Lett 310:96–104. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2011.08.001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Firstov PP, Shirokov VA (2005) Dynamics of molecular hydrogen and its relation to deformational processes at the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskii geodynamic test site: evidence from observations in 1999–2003. Geochem Int 43:1056–1064Google Scholar
- Larin VN (1993) Hydridic Earth: the new geology of our primordially hydrogen-rich planet. Polar publishing, AlbertaGoogle Scholar
- Michard A, Boudier F, Goffé B (1991) Obduction versus subduction and collision in the Oman case and other Tethyan settings. In: Peters T, Nicolas A, Coleman RG (eds) Ophiolite genesis and evolution of the oceanic lithosphere. Ministry of Petroleum and Minerals, Sultante of Oman, Dordrecht, pp 447–467CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Miller HM, Matter JM, Kelemen P, Ellison ET, Conrad ME, Fierer N, Ruchala T, Tominaga M, Templeton AS (2016) Modern water/rock reactions in Oman hyperalkaline peridotite aquifers and implications for microbial habitability. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 179:217–241. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2016.01.033 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Smith NJP, Shepherd TJ, Styles MT, Williams GM (2005) Hydrogen exploration: a review of global hydrogen accumulations and implications for prospective areas in NW Europe. In: Petroleum geology: North-West Europe and global perspectives - proceedings of the 6th petroleum geology conference. Geological Society, London, pp 349–358Google Scholar
- Suzuki K, Shibuya T, Yoshizaki M, Hirose T (2015) Experimental hydrogen production in hydrothermal and fault systems: significance for habitability of subseafloor H2 chemoautotroph microbial ecosystems. In: Ishibashi J, Okino K, Sunamura M (eds) Subseafloor biosphere linked to hydrothermal systems. Springer, Japan, pp 87–94Google Scholar
- Vacquand C (2011) Genèse et mobilité de l’hydrogène dans les roches sédimentaires : source d’énergie naturelle ou vecteur énergétique stockable? PhD Thesis defended in IFP Energies nouvelles and Institut de Physique du Globe de ParisGoogle Scholar
- Vacquand C, Deville E, Beaumont V, Guyot F, Sissmann O, Pillot D, Arcilla C, Prinzhofer A (2018) Reduced gas seepages in ophiolitic complexes: evidences for multiple origins of the H2-CH4-N2 gas mixtures. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 223:437–461. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2017.12.018 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- van Buchem FSP, Razin P, Homewood PW, Oterdoom WH, Philip J (2002) Stratigraphic organization of carbonate ramps and organic-rich intrashelf basins: Natih Formation (middle Cretaceous) of northern Oman. Am Assoc Pet Geol Bull 86:21–53. https://doi.org/10.1306/61EEDA30-173E-11D7-8645000102C1865D CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Zgonnik V, Beaumont V, Deville E, Larin N, Pillot D, Farrell KM (2015) Evidence for natural molecular hydrogen seepage associated with Carolina bays (surficial, ovoid depressions on the Atlantic Coastal Plain Province of the USA). Prog Earth Planet Sci 2. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40645-015-0062-5