In the Witwatersrand Basin of South Africa, boreholes originally drilled to explore for diamonds deep below the surface, continue to discharge methane gas years later. Teams are investigating the source of these gases and their relationship to microbially generated methane, and the water-rock interaction gases found in the deep strata of the Basin. Taking advantage of such deep boreholes, subsurface mines, and deep research laboratories worldwide, Deep Energy researchers are mobilizing to explore Earth’s “Inner Space”. The presentation will highlight work at underground sites in 2-3 billion year old Precambrian Shield rocks in South Africa, Canada, and Finland, where isotope geochemistry has identified large accumulations of free H2 gas, methane, higher hydrocarbons and noble gases dissolved in saline fracture waters with residence times on the order of millions of years.
Photo credit E. van Heerden University of the Free State, South Africa