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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

300-Myr-old magmatic CO2 in natural gas reservoirs of the west Texas Permian basin.

Except in regions of recent crustal extension, the dominant origin of carbon dioxide in fluids in sedimentary basins has been assumed to be from crustal organic matter or mineral reactions. Here we show, by contrast, that Rayleigh fractionation caused by partial degassing of a magma body can explain the CO2/3He ratios and delta13C(CO2) values observed in CO2-rich natural gases in the west Texas Val Verde basin and also the mantle 3He/22Ne ratios observed in other basin systems. Regional changes in CO2/3He and CO2/CH4 ratios can be explained if the CO2 input pre-dates methane generation in the basin, which occurred about 280 Myr ago. Uplift to the north of the Val Verde basin between 310 and 280 Myr ago appears to be the only tectonic event with appropriate timing and location to be the source of the magmatic CO2. Our identification of magmatic CO2 in a foreland basin indicates that the origin of CO2 in other mid-continent basin systems should be re-evaluated. Also, the inferred closed-system preservation of natural gas in a trapping structure for approximately 300 Myr is far longer than the residence time predicted by diffusion models.[1]


  1. 300-Myr-old magmatic CO2 in natural gas reservoirs of the west Texas Permian basin. Ballentine, C.J., Schoell, M., Coleman, D., Cain, B.A. Nature (2001) [Pubmed]
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