Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Examining the claim of pre-existing methane in water wells, Franklin Forks / Salt Springs

Examining the claim of pre-existing methane in water wells:

Between 2008 and 2011, an industry-backed survey of Susquehanna County was made.
Here is a chart of where the methane was found.


First note that in the region of Franklin Forks/Salt Springs (Red Circle)
there is no indication of pre-existing gas from this survey.

Next, examine the scale of the chart.
They only considered binning the results
  • from "< less than 0.1 ppb" (ppb=Parts Per BILLION)
  • to "> 10,000 ppb".

To put this into perspective, the Mannings well as measured by Duke University was at 81.3 mg/l.

At normal atmospheric pressure and room temperature, a liter of pure methane has mass= 630 mg.
So 63 mg/l of water is 10%. Mannings water at 81.3 mg/l is over 10% methane.
10% = 10/100 = 100 million parts per billion.

Here is a chart which helps convert between various ways to measure dissolved methane in water:


Note Well!! The highest bin is labeled > 10,000 PPB.
(1B / 10k) = 100k. So this is like 1/100,000th or 1 THOUSANDTH of one percent.

Two of the Manning's tests were over 10% methane which is 1/10th,
which is 4 orders of magnitude greater = 10,000x greater.

To put this in perspective in terms of Orders of Magnitude...

Let's pretend they were looking at various orders of LENGTH
between LESS THAN the width of a HUMAN HAIR, spanning
5 orders of magnitude, all the way up to 1 foot. THIS IS THEIR MEASURING STICK.

Where does the Mannings test fall on this scale?
At the TWO MILE mark!

So imaging measuring 2 Miles in terms of "how many human hairs in 2 miles"?
Or if you had to measure 2 Miles by counting 1 ft. rules? (over 10,000 of them).

Orders of Magnitude
  • 1/1     100% Pure Methane
  • 1/10     10% Mannings Well  
  • 1/100   
  • 1/1K
  • 1/10K
  • 1/100K HIGHEST BIN  
  • 1/1M          range          
  • 1/10M        of samples       
  • 1/100M          here               
  • 1/1000M LOWEST BIN   

  • 20 miles
  • 2 miles    (Mannings Well)
  •  1,000 ft.
  •  100 ft
  • 10 ft.
  • 1 foot     
  • 1.2"in
  • 1/8th" or 3mm
  • 0.3mm    = 300 microns
  • 0.03mm = 30 microns
Human Hair is 17-170 microns.

Biogenic (shallow gas) vs. Thermogenic (deep gas)?

This is basically a straw man. Below find two charts from the same industry presentation
referenced above. Notice the overburden in the region around Salt Springs is marked by
"Large Scale Faults" (A' or B' to the right of both charts).

If this area ALREADY has unstable geology allowing gas to escape to the surface,
why is it contradictory to suggest that heavy drilling in the area could liberate MORE gas?

As Tony Ingraffea has said, most of the problems in Dimock has been caused by
vertical drilling hitting shallow gas.

Josh Fox also talked about this in Sky is Pink:

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