Mud volcanoes and microseepage: the forgotten geophysical components of atmospheric methane budget

G. Etiope


Mud volcanoes and microseepage are two important natural sources of atmospheric methane, controlled by neotectonics
and seismicity. Petroleum and gas reservoirs are the deep sources, and faults and fractured rocks serve
as main pathways of degassing to the atmosphere. Violent gas emissions or eruptions are generally related to
seismic activity. The global emission of methane from onshore mud volcanoes has recently been improved
thanks to new experimental data sets acquired in Europe and Azerbaijan. The global estimate of microseepage
can be now improved on the basis of new flux data and a more precise assessment of the global area in which
microseepage may occur. Despite the uncertainty of the various source strengths, the global geological methane
flux is clearly comparable to or higher than other sources or sinks considered in the tables of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change.


methane;lithosphere degassing;mudvolcanoes;greenhouse gas;geodynamics

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X