Macroseepage of methane and light alkanes at the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles

Macroseepage of methane and light alkanes at the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles Geologic seepage of methane and light (C2-C5) alkanes was measured at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. Samples were collected using flux chambers with stainless steel canisters and analyzed using gas chromatography. Average seepage rates from individual seepage sites were 970 ± 330 mg/h of methane, 14.0 ± 5.5 mg/h of ethane, 9.1 ± 3.7 mg/h of propane, 3.7 ± 1.6 mg/h of i-butane, 0.33 ± 0.16 mg/h of n-butane, 260 ± 120 μg/h of i-pentane, and 5.3 ± 1.9 μg/h of n-pentane, while maximum seepage rates exceeded 17 g/h of methane, 270 mg/h of ethane, 190 mg/h of propane, 95 mg/h of i-butane, 10 mg/h of n-butane, 7 mg/h of i-pentane, and 0.1 mg/h of n-pentane. These absolute fluxes have an additional unknown amount of error associated with them due to sampling methodology, and should be taken as the lower limit of emissions. Samples collected revealed generally dry gas, with high methane emissions relative to the light alkanes. Overall emissions from the tar pits were found to come not only from the active geologic seepage, but also from the outgassing of the standing asphalt at the site. Using the gas ratios, which are negligibly affected by errors introduced by sampling methodology, observed in this study, daily emissions of C2 – C5 alkanes from the La Brea area were estimated to be 4.7 ± 1.6 Mg, which represents 2–3 % of total emissions in the entire Los Angeles region. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry Springer Journals
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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Earth Sciences; Atmospheric Sciences; Atmospheric Protection/Air Quality Control/Air Pollution
ISSN
0167-7764
eISSN
1573-0662
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10874-016-9346-4
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Geologic seepage of methane and light (C2-C5) alkanes was measured at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. Samples were collected using flux chambers with stainless steel canisters and analyzed using gas chromatography. Average seepage rates from individual seepage sites were 970 ± 330 mg/h of methane, 14.0 ± 5.5 mg/h of ethane, 9.1 ± 3.7 mg/h of propane, 3.7 ± 1.6 mg/h of i-butane, 0.33 ± 0.16 mg/h of n-butane, 260 ± 120 μg/h of i-pentane, and 5.3 ± 1.9 μg/h of n-pentane, while maximum seepage rates exceeded 17 g/h of methane, 270 mg/h of ethane, 190 mg/h of propane, 95 mg/h of i-butane, 10 mg/h of n-butane, 7 mg/h of i-pentane, and 0.1 mg/h of n-pentane. These absolute fluxes have an additional unknown amount of error associated with them due to sampling methodology, and should be taken as the lower limit of emissions. Samples collected revealed generally dry gas, with high methane emissions relative to the light alkanes. Overall emissions from the tar pits were found to come not only from the active geologic seepage, but also from the outgassing of the standing asphalt at the site. Using the gas ratios, which are negligibly affected by errors introduced by sampling methodology, observed in this study, daily emissions of C2 – C5 alkanes from the La Brea area were estimated to be 4.7 ± 1.6 Mg, which represents 2–3 % of total emissions in the entire Los Angeles region.

Journal

Journal of Atmospheric ChemistrySpringer Journals

Published: Sep 19, 2016

References

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