Radon measurements over a natural-gas contaminated aquifer

D. Palacios, E. Fusella, Y. Avila, J. Salas, D. Teixeira, G. Fernández, A. Salas, L. Sajo-Bohus, E. Greaves, H. Barros, M. Bolívar, J. Regalado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Radon and thoron concentrations in soil pores in a gas production region of the Anzoategui State, Venezuela, were determined by active and passive methods. In this region, water wells are contaminated by natural gas and gas leaks exist in the nearby river. Based on soil gas Radon data surface hydrocarbon seeps were identified. Radon and thoron concentration maps show anomalously high values near the river gas leaks decreasing in the direction of water wells where natural gas is also detected. The area where the highest concentrations of 222Rn were detected seems to indicate the surface projection of the aquifer contaminated with natural gas. The Radon/Thoron ratio revealed a micro-localized anomaly, indicating the area where the gas comes from deep layers of the subsoil. The radon map determined by the passive method showed a marked positive anomaly around abandoned gas wells. The high anomalous Radon concentration localized near the trails of ascending gas bubbles at the river indicates the zone trough where natural gases are ascending with greater ease, associated with a deep geological fault, being this the main source of methane penetration into the aquifer. It is suggested that the source of the natural gas may be due to leaks at deep sites along the structure of some of the abandoned wells located at the North-East of the studied area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-120
Number of pages5
JournalRadiation Measurements
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Aquifer
  • LR-115 detector
  • Natural gas
  • Radon
  • Soil pores
  • Thoron


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