Observation of CO2 degassing in Tianshuihai Lake Basin of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau
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A large volume of underground gas in the permafrost region of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau has been identified. Although many studies were performed to investigate the soil organic carbon dynamics and Earth degassing in volcanic areas, this is the first report of a large amount of non-volcanic CO2 contained in permafrost. The gas was mostly CO2 (81.76 vol. %) and nitrogen (14.59 vol. %). The gas composition and the evidence from carbon stable isotope values (−23.9 ‰, PDB) suggested that the gases possibly had a deep origin. The gas emissions may be triggered by permafrost degradation, which means mitigation of the barrier effect of permafrost for the gas. In addition, plate tectonic processes may also lead to gas emissions, as the tectonic activity is strong in the area. Therefore, particular attention should be paid to the underground gases in the study of global change and permafrost degradation.
KeywordsUnderground gas Earth degassing Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau Tianshuihai Lake Basin
The authors gratefully acknowledge the referees for their constructive comments. This work was financially supported by the “National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program)” (2010CB951402) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41071143, 41101069, 40901042). The work was also supported in part by China Postdoctoral Science Foundation and the Open Research Fund Program of the State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences (SKLCS 2010-06). The authors gratefully acknowledge the Hundred Talents Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (51Y251571) and the support of K.C. Wong Education Foundation.
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