EGU22-1971, updated on 27 Mar 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Shallow aquifers as an element of methane biogeochemical cycle in West Siberia

Aleksandr Sabrekov1,2, Anatoly Prokushkin3, Yuriy Litti1,4, Mikhail Glagolev1,2,5, Ekaterina Parkhomchuk6, Alexey Petrozhitskii7, Peter Kalinkin8, Dmitry Kuleshov9, and Irina Terentieva1,2
Aleksandr Sabrekov et al.
  • 1A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution RAS, Moscow, Russian Federation (
  • 2Yugra State University, Khanty-Mansyisk, Russian Federation
  • 3Sukachev Institute of Forest, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Krasnoyarsk, Russian Federation
  • 4Winogradsky Institute of Microbiology, Research Center of Biotechnology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russian Federation
  • 5Moscow State University, Moscow, Russian Federation
  • 6Novosibirsk State University, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation
  • 7Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation
  • 8Boreskov Institute of Catalysis, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation
  • 9Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation

Methane seeps – cm-sized holes and craters with an active release of gas bubbles and water – were recently found within boreal floodplains of Western Siberia. Seep-abundant areas are hot spots of methane emission; fluxes reach hundreds of mgCH4 m-2 h-1 from individual seeps. Methane in seeps is of modern primary microbial origin. We suggest that it is produced in raised bogs covering 30-40% of the region area. Lateral methane transport from raised bogs to seeps occurs through shallow aquifers where dissolved methane concentration reaches tens of percent saturation. The objectives of this study were to assess: i) a spatial distribution and key drivers of CH4 accumulation in groundwater on a regional scale, ii) methane origin, iii) groundwater discharge to rivers, and iv) oxidation of methane in groundwater.

The study sites in West Siberia were located within the latitudinal and longitudinal transects representing tundra, taiga and steppe biomes: 1000 km in north-south (65.5°-56.4° N) and 700 km in east-west (63.3°-76.5° E) directions. Ground water samples (N = 25) were collected in active wells of municipal water supply stations with depths varying from 25 to 300 meters. Dissolved hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide in groundwater samples were obtained by headspace technique. Along with determination of C-containing gas concentrations in samples we measured their isotopic composition (δ13С in СО2, δ13С and δD in СН4 and 14C in СН4). In parallel, groundwaters were measured for pH, electrical conductivity, inorganic and organic carbon concentrations, water stable isotope ratios (δD and δ18О), 3H content and concentrations of major anions and cations. To estimate an input of groundwaters to a river network of the study region we analyzed the dissolved methane concentrations and water stable isotope ratios (δD and δ18О) in different order rivers (N = 60).

Groundwaters of shallow aquifers in forest-tundra, middle and southern taiga of Western Siberia are highly saturated with methane (average value 38.8% of the full saturation or 827 μmol l-1), while in the northern taiga and forest-steppe the dissolved methane concentration did not exceed 0.7% of the full saturation (15 μmol l-1). The key driver was the site location in relation to bogs: groundwater CH4 concentration was higher in aquifers, that are located downstream of wetland-dominated areas (along the groundwater flow direction). Values of δ13С, δDand 14С in СН4 and δ13С in СО2 indicated the modern primary microbial origin of methane and a negligible methane oxidation in aquifers. Dissolved organic carbon concentration positively correlated with dissolved methane concentration (R2 = 0.55, p < 0.0001 for a power fit). Higher concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and methane corresponded to waters that are more depleted in δD and δ18О. Groundwater contributed to at least 20% of river discharge throughout the region during the summer low-flow period. Thus, shallow aquifers of West Siberia provide an effective pathway for methane migration from raised bogs to rivers and, further, to the atmosphere.

This study was supported by a grant of the Russian Science Foundation (No. 19-77-10074).

How to cite: Sabrekov, A., Prokushkin, A., Litti, Y., Glagolev, M., Parkhomchuk, E., Petrozhitskii, A., Kalinkin, P., Kuleshov, D., and Terentieva, I.: Shallow aquifers as an element of methane biogeochemical cycle in West Siberia, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-1971,, 2022.


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