Modeling the effects of gas-phase CO2 intrusion on the biogeochemistry of variably saturated soils

A. S. Altevogt, Peter R. Jaffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The transport of gas-phase carbon dioxide through unsaturated soils has the potential to significantly alter the soil biogeochemistry. Leakage of CO2 from deep reservoirs, either naturally occurring or anthropogenically emplaced, may radically alter the redox conditions of a soil. Evidence of such alterations has been seen at several sites at Mammoth Mountain, California where natural leakage has led to soil-gas CO2 concentrations of over 90 percent. This in turn has pointed potential risks to ecosystem system health due to leakage from sites of geologically sequestered CO2.A two-dimensional numerical model has been developed to explore the effects of gaseous CO2 leakage on the biogeochemistry of a variably saturated porous media. The model describes the sequential degradation of organic carbon by microorganisms using a series of terminal electron acceptors. Gas-phase CO2 intrusion results in changes in redox conditions and pH of the soil water both of which may lead to alteration of the biogeochemistry of the soil. Alteration of the biogeochemical profile of a representative field site is also explored with the numerical model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)817-825
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopments in Water Science
Issue numberPART 1
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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