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Soil gas CO2 emissions from active faults: a case study from the Anninghe—Zemuhe fault, Southeastern Tibetan Plateau, China

  • Liu, Fengli1
  • Zhou, Xiaocheng1, 2
  • Dong, Jinyuan1
  • Yan, Yucong2
  • Tian, Jiao1
  • Li, Jingchao1
  • Ouyang, Shupei1
  • He, Miao1
  • Liu, Kaiyi3
  • Yao, Bingyu2
  • Wang, Yuwen1
  • Zeng, Zhaojun1
  • Zhang, Yongxian1
  • 1 China Earthquake Administration, Beijing , (China)
  • 2 China University of Geosciences (Beijing), Beijing , (China)
  • 3 University of Sydney Business School, Sydney, NSW , (Australia)
Published Article
Frontiers in Earth Science
Frontiers Media S.A.
Publication Date
May 09, 2023
DOI: 10.3389/feart.2023.1117862
  • Earth Science
  • Original Research


Introduction: Carbon dioxide emissions from non-volcanic areas are undervalued in the carbon cycle. Methods: First estimates of diffuse CO2 flux from the Anninghe—Zemuhe fault (AZF), Southeastern Tibetan Plateau, China, which suggests this could equal 15% emissions from all volcanoes in China. Following the accumulation chamber method, CO2 flux was investigated at 1,483 points, and along 67 profiles crossing the AZF. Results and discussion: Total CO2 emissions from the AZF were estimated 1.2 Mt yr-1. The relationship between soil gas CO2 fluxes, earthquakes, and fault activity was discussed. The intense fault activity in the southern part of the Zemuhe fault (ZMHF) and the northern part of the Anninghe fault (ANH) was inferred, which could have enhanced the porosity of the soil, and accelerated the water-rock interactions and soil gas emission within the fault zone. The chemical and isotopic data indicated that biogenic CO2 was the primary source of CO2 from the AZF. Produced by interactions between groundwaters and carbonates, soil gas CO2 could migrate to the near surface through cracks. Spatial variations of CO2 flux in soil gas indicate that seismic activity could be responsible for the jumpy variations of CO2 flux. The diffuse CO2 from deep faults may contribute considerably to the greenhouse gas cycles.

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