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Papp, K.A., 2008

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Bibliographic Reference

Papp, K.A., 2008, Integrated analysis of soil gas geochemistry, permafrost features, gas hydrates, and faults southwest of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska: University of Alaska Fairbanks, M.S. thesis, xiv, 164 p., illust., maps.


This study analyzed the spatial relationship of soil gas geochemistry, faults, pingos and gas hydrate occurrence along the western edge of the Prudhoe Bay oil field, Alaska North Slope. Pingo density and orientation suggest underlying geologic controls influencing pingo formation. Radial Basis Function interpolation surfaces show that hydrocarbon anomalies occur close to and away from known faults. Therefore, the initial hypothesis that geochemical anomalies and pingo distribution are related to fluids migrating from depth along a single fault plane (the Eileen fault zone) is too simple. Occurrence of complex hydrocarbons, methane 13C isotope values similar to those found associated with gas hydrates and consistent thermogenic gas signatures of winter samples is further evidence of fluid migration from depth. These observations suggest that while the Eileen fault zone may be actively leaking, other migration pathways are also present. Integrated analysis of results in a GIS environment lead to three different possible fluid migration models: (1) fluids migrating along open fault planes and through unconsolidated sediments, (2) fluids migrating along both the Eileen fault and unmapped associated antithetic faults related to normal faulting, and (3) fluids migrating along both the Eileen fault and unmapped faults of complex 'flower structures' related to basement fault wrenching.

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