Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Geology and Geography

Committee Chair

Henry W Rauch

Committee Co-Chair

James E Locke

Committee Member

Thomas Wilson


The need to mitigate the alleged effects of anthropogenic carbon dioxide gas (CO2(g)) generation has led to the exploring of specific subsurface environments to house the gas. The geology of the subsurface underlying Marshall County West Virginia makes the area an ideal setting for use as a CO 2(g) repository. A cooperative, pilot study was undertaken by CONSOL Energy Inc., which owns and operates the selected CO2(g) sequestration site, along with personnel from West Virginia University (WVU) and other agencies under the United States Department of Energy (DOE) funded Zero Emissions Research Technology or ZERT program. The repository is an unminable coal bed/seam overlain predominantly by shale. A potential residual effect of the geologic sequestration of CO2(g) is the enhanced recovery of otherwise unrecoverable coal bed methane gas (CH4(g)). The environmental effects of this type of geologic CO2(g) sequestration were previously unknown. Here we demonstrate methods of monitoring and any potential signatures of CO2(g) on the ground water, surface water, soil zone, and head space gases as well as the migration of perfluorocarbon (PFC) tracer, injected and tested by National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) researchers, within a 1 kilometer (km) square test grid where CO2(g) and CH4(g) related activities are taking place. The findings indicate the possibility of the microseepage of injected CO2(g) within the soil zone; the possibility of slight CO2(g) chemical weathering within the aquifer underlying the center of the test site square; an injected CO2(g) exacerbated head space CH4(g) pollution event; and a failure of the cement plug at the base of access well MH-19. The secondary findings indicate two separate coal bed formation (residual brine) water pollution events, affecting two test site ground water wells and two stream sampling locations; one event was accidental, while the other event is alleged to be intentional. The environmental effects of geologically sequestered CO2(g) may not be fully understood at the CO2(g) injection site, considering the lack of long periods of sustained CO2(g) injection and the lack of CO2(g) injection during the biologically dormant (winter) seasons during the study period.