Natural hydrogen exploration

Are the Australian “fairy circles” hydrogen emitting features?

Hydrogen can be naturally produced by various processes in the subsurface, mostly coming from water which is separated from oxygen by diagenetic process or by radiolysis. Since H2 is the most abundant element of the solar system, the degassing of large reserves of deep seated H2 from the mantle or the Earth’s core have been also proposed. The most well-known process is the oxidation reaction between water and ferrous sediments resulting in their transformation to the ferric state through the release of H2. This process is the best candidate to explain high hydrogen flux measured above surface depressions in Brazil, Mali, United-States and Russia. Those circular depressions are called fairy circles and numerous occurrences of the same type of features are observable in Australia. So the following question: is Australia rich of multiple natural hydrogen potential reservoirs or are we simply observing salt lakes?

This project is about going on the field, measuring the soil-gas and closely monitoring potential surface evidence of H2 free gas seepage to better understand the Australian hydrogen system.

For more information, please contact Dr Ema Frery