Recent news coverage has raised questions about how and why methane might appear in water. In the latest edition of Hear Our Voices, Dr. Charles Groat, Director of the Energy and Earth Resources Graduate Program at the Jackson School of Geo Sciences at the University of Texas, explains how natural gas forms organically beneath the earth over geologic time. In many parts of the country, having this "biogenic methane" percolate to the surface by natural processes is "an everyday occurrence."
"There are thick shale sequences, for example in upstate New York, that have been bubbling gas for millions of years, and it does get into water. It's there naturally," Dr. Groat explains. "Methane moving around in the natural environment is not an unusual occurrence."
Dr. Groat points out that in areas where communities are less familiar with this geologic phenomenon, there is often a false assumption made that the cause is natural gas development. The challenge, he notes, is promoting "familiarity, education and understanding" to help communities better understand this naturally occurring event.
Thank you, Dr. Groat, for helping answer these questions and promoting this vital understanding.