Pennsylvania Water Science Center



Chuck Cravotta



Note to Users: By agreeing to post their work at this site, the presenters request that users of the material acknowledge and properly reference the material that is used. An example reference is:
Coleman, D.D., 2009, From floating golf greens to burning cities - Some reflections on the past, present, and future of stray gas identification: presentation made at the Stray Gas Workshop, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, November 4-6, 2009, accessed [date accessed], at /projects/energy/stray_gas/presentations/Coleman%20presentation.pdf.

Day 1

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION — From floating golf greens to burning cities — Some reflections on the past, present, and future of stray gas identification (6.26MB)


Dr. Dennis Coleman, Isotech Laboratories, Inc., set the stage for the workshop and used case studies to show the power of isotopic analysis for identifying the source of stray gas. He cautioned that isotopes are not a "silver bullet."

Stray gas migration and applications in the use of isotope geochemistry (9.50MB)


Fred Baldassare, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, stressed that testing of the stray gas and all the potential sources should take place as soon as possible after the stray gas is discovered in order to increase the potential for successful identification of the source.

Factors affecting forensic analysis and interpretation of impacts from stray gas hydrocarbons — Pressure, mixing, oxidation, and dilution (3.01MB)


Dr. Anthony W. Gorody, Universal Geoscience Consulting, Inc., noted that well bore annulus integrity is a key factor in stray-gas investigations. Cases from the Rocky Mountain region illustrated this point.

Methods for locating abandoned wells in populated areas — A summary of case studies (20.5MB)


Garret Veloski of DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory reviewed instruments and methods that have proven successful in finding casings of gas wells and sources of stray methane. Case studies from western and eastern U.S. gas fields were discussed.

Detection of subsurface methane through geophysical methods (11.6MB)


Bryan Teschke, a geologist with the Hutchinson Group, Ltd., reviewed techniques for subsurface imaging of gas-migration pathways such as fractures and faults. Geophysical methods will not ‘see’ methane in the shallow subsurface.

Magmatic carbon dioxide emissions — Environmental effects and hazards at Mammoth Mountain, California (15.1MB)


Christopher Farrar, USGS, described the two sources of carbon dioxide emissions in the Long Valley Caldera and flux-measurement methods. Destruction of forest areas and asphyxiation hazards were emphasized.

Day 2

Covariation of carbon and hydrogen isotopic compositions in natural gas: Separating biogenic, thermogenic, and abiotic (inorganic CO2 reduction) sources (3.98MB)


Dr. Robert Burruss, USGS, and Christopher Laughrey, Pennsylvania Geologic Survey, discussed how mixing and alteration of reservoir gases can complicate source identification.

Noble gases in the natural gas of western New York State: Implications for hydrocarbon migration in the northern Appalachian Basin


Presentation is not available at this time. Please contact Dr. Andy Hunt, USGS Noble Gas Laboratory, for more information.

Carbon and hydrogen isotopic evidence for the origin of combustible gases in water-supply wells in north-central Pennsylvania (7.31MB)


Dr. Kinga Revesz, USGS, described how isotopic data were used to identify microbial and thermogenic methane in groundwater near a gas-storage reservoir.

Effect of fugitive migration of methane on quality of shallow groundwater


Presentation is not available at this time. Please contact the author, Martha Jagucki at the USGS Ohio Water Science Center, for more information.

Gas cloud kills thousands at Lake Nyos, Africa: Identifying the culprit and saving lives in the future (13.1MB)


Dr. Michele Tuttle, a research geochemist with USGS, shared her observations of the 1986 disaster in Cameroon involving a CO2-charged crater lake and the timeless scientific work that will prevent a recurrence.

Identifying sources of stray carbon dioxide gas contamination in western Pennsylvania (18.0MB)


Christopher Laughrey, Pennsylvania Geologic Survey, reviewed case studies of CO2 migration from subsurface sources into buildings in western Pennsylvania.

Geostatistical modeling of CO2 flux spatial variation (1.79MB)


Dr. Kwame Awuah-Offei, Missouri Univ. of Science & Technology, discussed elevated levels of CO2 in homes built on or near mine spoil and predictive tools to assess mine lands prior to development.

Dangerous atmosphere created in strip mine spoil (4.18MB)

Alternate Presentation Problems with carbon dioxide infiltration into residences constructed upon reclaimed surface mines (7.16MB)


Bill Ehler, Office of Surface Mining, defined “blackdamp” and reviewed a case in Lawrence County, Pa., where excessive CO2 in basements of three homes was from calcareous mine spoil.

The occurrence and mitigation of carbon dioxide in homes built on reclaimed coal mines (10.4MB)


Dr. Bret Robinson, USGS, described CO2 migration pathways and weather-related aspects of gas movement. Sub-slab depressurization techniques for mitigation were shown.

Day 3

Carbon monoxide poisoning at a surface coal mine — A case study (6.68MB)


Ken Eltshlager, Office of Surface Mining, discussed stray gases associated with blasting.  A case study of carbon monoxide poisoning illustrated paths of gas migration.

Pipeline integrity — Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s investigative and regulatory requirements for assessing natural gas migration from pipelines (4.22MB)


Ralph Graeser of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, reviewed pipeline regulations and how utility companies respond to reports of stray gases. 

Well integrity — Vertical and horizontal cement evaluation (5.11MB)


Todd Sutton, an engineer with Schlumberger, showed techniques for evaluating the integrity of cements used to complete gas wells and how poor cement jobs could lead to stray gases. 

Stray gas in water well systems (0.7MB)


Kevin McCray, National Ground Water Association, gave examples of the many gases that can be encountered in groundwater and wells.  Water well site safety was emphasized.

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