Methane migration, water chemistry changes are focus of shale gas webinar

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Methane migration into water resources in Pennsylvania will be the subject of a web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension at 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 14.

Because Pennsylvania does not regulate private homeowner water wells, and naturally occurring methane is common, detection of the sources leaking methane has been difficult to determine. Recent Penn State research has found new tracers that may help determine impacts from recent gas migration.

In the webinar, researcher Josh Woda, a graduate student in Penn State's Department of Geosciences, will present the findings of the research. He believes these findings may make it possible in many cases to find where methane leaking into water wells is coming from.

“Very little is understood about how methane migrates in the subsurface and what geochemical changes it can induce along its flow path,” he said. “We studied an area containing elevated methane for over seven years to understand plausible causes of methane migration. Observed changes in metal concentrations and sulfate depletion at the study site might allow better prediction of what happens in the subsurface at other locations when methane is introduced, as well as revealing whether methane is natural or anthropogenic in origin.”

The webinar is free, but registration is necessary. To register, visit the Penn State Extension Natural Gas Events webpage at the website. More information is available by contacting Carol Loveland at 570-320-4429 or at

Previous webinars, publications and information also are available on the Penn State Extension natural-gas website, covering a variety of topics such as liquid natural gas; seismic testing; methane emissions; water use and quality; Marcellus and Utica basins; natural gas reserves; gas-leasing considerations for landowners; legal issues surrounding gas development; and the impact of Marcellus gas development on forestland.

Last Updated March 04, 2019