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Geochemical characterization, source, and fate of methane and hydrogen sulfide at the Belmont Learning Center, Los Angeles

Isaac R. Kaplan and John E. Sepich
Geochemical characterization, source, and fate of methane and hydrogen sulfide at the Belmont Learning Center, Los Angeles
Environmental Geosciences (March 2010) 17 (1): 45-69

Abstract

This article examines environmental concerns at the site of a Los Angeles, California, high school known as Belmont Learning Center (BLC) during its construction. A part of the site on which the school was to be built is a largely depleted oil field in the center of Los Angeles, close to a heavily populated area. Located nearby are another high school and an elementary school, each constructed more than 70 yr ago atop the same oil field. Prior to and during construction at the BLC site, which began in 1990, methane (CH (sub 4) ) and hydrogen sulfide (H (sub 2) S) were detected in deep soil borings and monitoring wells. After the building construction began, a stratigraphic offset was also detected and interpreted as a fault line, which could be traced beneath one of the nearly completed buildings. This resulted in a decision to demolish that building and an adjacent one and to temporarily suspend all construction activity. Additional analytical measurements showed that the highest concentrations of both CH (sub 4) (>5% atmospheric concentration) and H (sub 2) S (>100 ppmv) occurred only in the deeper samples, and that only traces of these environmentally hazardous gases were present at or near the soil surface. In this article, we use carbon, hydrogen, and sulfur stable isotope data, as well as (super 14) C measurements to describe the sources and natural processes of CH (sub 4) and H (sub 2) S removal. The interpretations offered in this article will hopefully be useful in assisting environmental professionals and government officials who evaluate hazardous soil gas concentrations to make decisions during the process of issuing or denying construction permits.


ISSN: 1075-9565
EISSN: 1526-0984
Serial Title: Environmental Geosciences
Serial Volume: 17
Serial Issue: 1
Title: Geochemical characterization, source, and fate of methane and hydrogen sulfide at the Belmont Learning Center, Los Angeles
Affiliation: University of California Los Angeles, Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Pages: 45-69
Published: 201003
Text Language: English
Publisher: American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), Division of Environmental Geosciences, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 30
Accession Number: 2010-031110
Categories: Environmental geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 9 tables, sketch maps
N34°00'00" - N34°00'00", W118°15'00" - W118°15'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Brownfield Subslab, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2019, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 201018
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