Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) migration in groundwater of the Zechstein strata in the Legnica-Głogów Copper Basin and its vicinity, SW Poland

Robert Duda, Elżbieta Bilkiewicz, Roman Becker





Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) occurs in groundwater in various lithostratigraphic units of the Zechstein Basin in the Legnica-Głogów Copper Basin (SW Poland). This region is located in the Fore-Sudetic Monocline within which, several tens of kilometres NE of the study area, at greater depths, natural gas fields with hydrogen sulphide (H2S) occur. The Main Dolomite (Ca2), in which H2S-containing natural gas has accumulated, is younger than the Zechstein Limestone (Ca1), which is actively mined. The Ca2 and Ca1 formations are separated by a thick anhydrite succession including a wedge-shaped salt body. Hydrochemical analyses of 18 groundwater samples taken from different horizons within the Zechstein strata showed spatial variability ofH2S  and chloride concentrations. A conceptual model of groundwater flow with dissolved H2S in the Zechstein formations was developed. H2S migration is associated with groundwater flow between the Ca2 and Ca1 aquifers through fissures in the anhydrite strata that separate them. Hydraulic contact through fissures in the anhydrite layers is the result of long-term exploitation of the underground copper deposit. Groundwater flow between the layers is influenced by a large change in the piezometric pressure of the groundwater in the depression cone caused by mining drainage.


hydrogen sulphide; chlorides; groundwater; mining impact; Zechstein Basin; Legnica-Głogów Copper Basin

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