GEOCARFLUX Applied Petrology Group

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Applied Petrology Group


Mechanisms and environmental factors that control gas transport through soils and rocks.
Implication in the balance of atmospheric CO2. CGL2011-25162-BTE (2012-2014)



The CO2 interchange between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems represents one of the most relevant topics of the current scientific research on the carbon global balance and the repercussion of global warming on these natural ecosystems. In recent years there is an increase of scientific literature which suggests that the balance of atmospheric CO2 may be controlled by abiotic-geochemical processes in addition to biological ones (photosynthesis-respiration). One of the theories of increasing relevance establishes that the gaseous interchange between surface/underground and atmosphere is conditioned by the presence of pores, macro-pores and subsurface cavities, which act as storage and/or temporal source of CO2. The climate and the soil and rock petrophyisical properties play an important role in the emission or uptake of CO2 by the subsurface cavities. In this system, the soil acts as a separation membrane between the underground and the atmosphere.

The scientific research on CO2 transport in soils and its relation to the balance of atmospheric CO2 was approached from an abiotic (geochemical) perspective. The research considered only the role of individual environmental parameters without taking into account the possible presence of subsurface cavities. The proposed research project is focussed on establishing and quantifying – through a methodological-experimental approach- the physical mechanisms that control the gas transport through the pore system of soil and rock due to changes in the environmental conditions. A specific objective is to define the role of each environmental factor (temperature, humidity, etc.) in the process of interchange soil-atmosphere depending on the micro-structural characteristics of the pore system.

This research program includes:

The methodologies and results derived from the project will be applied to other research fields, including the protection and management of the hypogean Natural and Cultural Heritage; fluid transport in building materials; CO2 storage, geochemistry of other trace gases such as CH4; or the prospecting of natural resources and geo-environmental health.






TITLE: "Modelling of difusive gas transport in the soil-rock system. Application to the analysis and interpretation of microclimatic data in shallow karst systems".
SUPERVISORS: Drs. D. Benavente, J.C: Cañaveras, S. Cuezva.


Benavente, D., Gadea, E, Pla. C. Laboratory device to measure gas diffusion coefficients at real conditions. Countries of priority: Spain. Entity title: University of Alicante.  REF.: REF.: P201531678

It is an automatic device and a method to determine gas diffusion coefficients of single gases from a gas mixture under atmospheric conditions. The device works in a wide range of relative humidity and temperature and can be employed to test any permeable or porous material. The procedure allows to calculate the gas diffusion coefficients for samples with different size and nature (soils, rocks, concretes, synthetic materials, etc.). It is a non-destructive test that can be used to calculate the gas diffusion coefficients of more than one gas at the same time.






This project is supported by the Spanish Minister of Economy and Competitiveness