Duoxing Yang This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, Lianzhong Zhang2 

1 National Institute of Natural Hazards, Ministry of Emergency Management of China, Beijing 100085, China
2 School of Physics, Nankai University, Tianjing 300384, China

Received: August 24, 2021
Revised: October 7, 2021
Accepted: October 8, 2021

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.210220  

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Cite this article:

Yang, D., Zhang, L. (2021). Carbon Dioxide Leakages through Fault Zones: Potential Implications for the Long-term Integrity of Geological Storage Sites. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 21, 210220. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.210220


  • Carbon dioxide leakages vary with a periodicity controlled by the crustal deformation.
  • Temporal changes in the crustal tilt reveal pulsing of carbon dioxide leakage levels.
  • Carbon dioxide leakages increase as a cause of fracture opening.


Carbon sequestration has recently become more widely recognized as a potential means of reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Understanding the tectonic relationship of carbon dioxide discharges and the sealing behavior of faults is conducive for predicting the long-term integrity of geological storage formations. Of primary concern is the influence of crustal deformation on the carbon dioxide leakage through fault zones during large-scale underground injection. This paper examines a record of carbon dioxide leakage from a faulted, natural carbon-dioxide-rich formation, and investigates the crustal tilt in the fault zones. Temporal changes in the crustal tilt reveal pulses of carbon dioxide concentrations ranging from 537.7 up to 1317.1 ppm, and the mean level represents 890.2 ppm. Of particular interest is that each high-frequency pulse coincides with the onset of local solid-earth tide. We show a significant correlation between the crustal tilt magnitude and amount of carbon dioxide leakage. We suggest that carbon dioxide leakage levels increase owing to fracture opening, potentially caused by changes in fault architecture and permeability structure of regions surrounding the faults.

Keywords: Carbon dioxide leakage, Carbon sequestration, Crustal tilt

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