Exploring controls on halogen and methane occurrence in groundwater of New York State

Shannon Fisher, Kristina Gutchess, Wanyi Lu, Donald Siegel, Zunli Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The expansion of unconventional oil and gas development (UOGD) by means of horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing has been accompanied by concerns regarding the potential impacts to water resources and public health. The ban on UOGD in New York State (NYS) allows the natural processes that control groundwater chemistry and dissolved methane to be evaluated without complications that could arise in regions impacted by prior unconventional shale gas development. We evaluated the controls on the occurrence and spatial variability of methane, chloride, bromine, and iodine, covering much of NYS and encompassing a range of underlying bedrock geologies. Groundwater samples were collected from 108 domestic and public supply wells. Methane concentrations in groundwater ranged from <0.001–84.6 mg/L. The variables most consistently associated with methane occurrence in groundwater included: 1) bedrock geology penetrated by wells, 2) groundwater chemical composition, and 3) confinement characterization of the well. The geochemical parameters iodine, chloride, and sodium/calcium suggested that elevated concentrations of methane were likely associated with deep brines. Elevated methane concentrations were frequently accompanied by both high bromine and iodine concentrations in this study, indicating that the potential of halogens as tracers for dissolved methane needs to be further investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104834
JournalApplied Geochemistry
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Geology
  • Groundwater
  • Hydrology
  • Iodine
  • Methane
  • New York

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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