, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 15–23 | Cite as

C2 and C3 hydrocarbon gases associated with highly reducing conditions in groundwater

  • D. L. Marrin
  • John J. Adriany


This study investigates the presence and concentration of light hydrocarbon gases in soil vapor located immediately above the capillary fringe of a petroleum-contaminated aquifer. A correlation was observed for the linear regression plot of redox potential versus detectable C2+C3 alkane concentrations for a limited number of sampling points. C2+C3 alkanes were not detected at points were redox potentials in groundwater exceeded -260 millivolts. The predominance of methanogenic processes in this redox range, as well as the observed C2+C3 concentration ratios, suggest that ethane and propane gases in soil vapor may be biogenically produced as well as a result of volatilization from NAPL.

Key words

ethane groundwater methane propane redox soil gas 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. El-Sebaay A, Van Cleemput O & Baert L (1989) Theoretical considerations in the oxidation of some gaseous hydrocarbons in the soil atmosphere. Soil Science 147: 103–106Google Scholar
  2. Graedel T (1978) Chemical Compounds in the Atmosphere. Academic Press, New York, NY, U.S.A.Google Scholar
  3. Ludvigsen L, Heron G, Albrechtsen H & Christensen T (1995) Geomicrobial and geochemical redox processes in a landfill-polluted aquifer. In: Hinchee R, Wilson J & Downey D (Eds) Intrinsic Bioremediation (pp 135–142). Battelle Press, Columbus, OH, U.S.A.Google Scholar
  4. Marrin D (1991) Subsurface biogenic gas ratios associated with hydrocarbon contamination. In: Hinchee R & Olfenbuttel R (Eds) In-Situ Bioreclamation (pp 546–560). ButterworthHeinemann, Stoneham, MA, U.S.A.Google Scholar
  5. Marrin D (1994) Spatial variability in redox conditions and groundwater bioremediation. In: Dracos T & Stauffer F (Eds) Transport and Reactive Processes in Aquifers (pp 583–587). Balkema Publ., Rotterdam, NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  6. Mayrsohn H, Crabtree J, Kuramoto M, Sothern R & Mano S (1977) Source reconciliation of atmospheric hydrocarbons. Atmos. Environ. 11: 189–192Google Scholar
  7. Oremland R, Miller L & Whitcar M (1987) Sources and flux of natural gases from Mono Lake, California. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 51: 2915–2929Google Scholar
  8. Patel R, Hou C, Laskin A & Felix A (1982) Microbial oxidation of hydrocarbons: properties of a soluble methane monooxygenase from a facultative methane-utilizing organism. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 44: 1130–1137Google Scholar
  9. Robbins G, McAninch F, Gavas F & Ellis P (1995) An evaluation of soil-gas surveying for H2S for locating subsurface hydrocarbon contamination. Ground Water Monitor. Remed. 15: 124–132Google Scholar
  10. Topp E & Hanson R (1991) Metabolism of radiatively important trace gases by methaneoxidizing bacteria. In: Rogers J & Whitman W (Eds) Microbial Production and Consumption of Greenhouse Gases: Methane, Nitrogen Oxides and Halomethanes (Chapter 5). Am. Soc. for Microbiol., Washington DC, U.S.A.Google Scholar
  11. White A, Peterson M & Solbau R (1990) Measurement and interpretation of low levels of dissolved oxygen in groundwater. Ground Water 28: 584–590Google Scholar
  12. Wiesenburg D, Brooks J & Bernard B (1985) Biogenic hydrocarbon gases and sulfate reduction in the Orca Basin brine. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 49: 2069–2080Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. L. Marrin
    • 1
  • John J. Adriany
    • 2
  1. 1.Solana BeachUSA
  2. 2.Kahl Environmental ServicesSan DiegoUSA

Personalised recommendations