Groundwater March-April Issue Explores ‘Subsurface Methane and its Migration’

March 5, 2018

Special Section Contains Five Research Papers Exploring Various Aspects of Methane Occurrences and Migration in Groundwater

(WESTERVILLE, Ohio — March 5, 2018) — The National Ground Water Association today announced its March-April issue of Groundwater®, a leading technical publication containing peer-reviewed scientific articles on pertinent groundwater subjects, features a focus section titled “Subsurface and its Migration” exploring methane occurrences and migration in groundwater.

The group of five papers highlights both natural and anthropogenic sources of methane related to unconventional drilling and the techniques to distinguish between the two. The special section also models the migration of methane. Topics in the section include, among others, the effects of CO2 injection on methane migration, gas leakage from faulty petroleum wells, and methane migration in shallow aquifers in the Karoo basin in South Africa.

“This special edition really focuses on the migration of gasses, particularly methane in shallow aquifers. This issue has been prevalent for about the last decade in the U.S. due to the advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing when people started to use those methods to basically abstract more natural gas from shales. While that’s been an incredible benefit to energy production in the U.S., one of the lingering concerns is the occurrence of fugitive, or stray, methane or gas released by the drilling process in some form or another to shallow aquifers,” said Dr. Thomas Darrah, associate professor at Ohio State University and Groundwater® guest editor. 

“Because of this, methane contamination has become a fairly controversial issue in the U.S., and abroad, and the special issue focuses on describing a variety of work that tries to address different aspects of lingering unknowns related to shale gas exploration and shale gas contamination.”

Details of the five papers include:

“Hydrocarbon-Rich Groundwater above Shale-Gas Formations: A Karoo Basin Case Study” by William K. Eymold, Kelley Swana, Myles T. Moore, Colin J. Whyte, Jennifer S. Harkness, Siep Talma, Ricky Murray, Joachim B. Moortgat, Jodie Miller, Avner Vengosh, and Thomas H. Darrah

“Structural and Hydrogeological Controls on Hydrocarbon and Brine Migration into Drinking Water Aquifers in Southern New York” by Rebecca L. Kreuzer, Thomas H. Darrah, Benjamin S. Grove, Myles T. Moore, Nathaniel R. Warner, William K. Eymold, Colin J. Whyte, Gautam Mitra, Robert B. Jackson, Avner Vengosh, and Robert J. Poreda

“Numerical Modeling of Methane Leakage from a Faulty Natural Gas Well into Fractured Tight Formations” by Joachim Moortgat, Franklin W. Schwartz, and Thomas H. Darrah

“Impacts of Methane on Carbon Dioxide Storage in Brine Formations” by Mohamad R. Soltanian, Mohammad A. Amooie, David R. Cole, Thomas H. Darrah, David E. Graham, Susan M. Pfiffner, Tommy J. Phelps, and Joachim Moortgat

Guest editorial “Time to Settle the Fracking Controversy” by Thomas H. Darrah.

The March-April issue of Groundwater® will be published on March 7 and can also be accessed via Wiley Online Library, the database housing complete content information for the journal.

Since 1963, Groundwater® has published a dynamic mix of papers on topics focused on groundwater such as flow and well hydraulics, hydrogeochemistry and contaminant hydrogeology, application of geophysics, management and policy, and the history of hydrology.


The National Ground Water Association is a not-for-profit professional society and trade association for the global groundwater industry. Our members around the world include leading public and private sector groundwater scientists, engineers, water well system professionals, manufacturers, and suppliers of groundwater-related products and services. The Association’s vision is to be the leading groundwater association advocating for responsible development, management, and use of water.