Global hydrogen reservoirs in basement and basins

John Parnell (Corresponding Author), Nigel Blamey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Hydrogen is known to occur in the groundwaters of some ancient cratons. Where associated gases have been dated, their age extends up to a billion years, and the hydrogen is assumed also to be very old . These observations are interpreted to represent the radiolysis of water and hydration reactions and migration of hydrogen into fracture systems. A hitherto untested implication is that the overwhelming bulk of the ancient low-permeability basement, which is not adjacent to cross-cutting fractures, constitutes a reservoir for hydrogen. Results: New data obtained from cold crushing to liberate volatiles from fluid inclusions confirm that granites and gneiss of Archean and Palaeoproterozoic (> 1600 Ma) age typically contain an order of magnitude greater hydrogen in their entrained fluid than very young (< 200 Ma) granites. Sedimentary rocks containing clasts of old basement also include a greater proportion of hydrogen than the young granites. Conclusions: The data support the case for a global reservoir of hydrogen in both the ancient basement and in the extensive derived sediments. These reservoirs are susceptible to the release of hydrogen through a variety of mechanisms, including deformation, attrition to reduce grain size and diagenetic alteration, thereby contributing to the hydrogen required by chemolithoautotrophs in the deep biosphere.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
JournalGeochemical Transactions
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2017


  • hydrogen
  • granites
  • fluid inclusions
  • deep biosphere


Dive into the research topics of 'Global hydrogen reservoirs in basement and basins'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this