The Impact of Atmospheric and Tectonic Constraints on Radon-222 and Carbon Dioxide Flow in Geological Porous Media - A Dozen-Year Research Summary

Hovav Zafrir, Susana Barbosa, Elad Levintal, Noam Weisbrod, Yochai Ben Horin, Zeev Zalevsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Long-term monitoring of Rn-222 and CO2 at a depth of several dozen meter at the Sde-Eliezer site, located within one of the Dead Sea Fault Zone segments in northern Israel, has led to the discovery of the clear phenomenon that both gases are affected by underground tectonic activity along the Dead Sea Fault Zone. It may relate to pre-seismic processes associated with the accumulation and relaxation of lithospheric stress and strain producing earthquakes. This approach assumes that meteorological influences on physico-chemical parameters are limited at depth since its strength diminishes with the increase of the overlay layer thickness. Hence, the monitoring of natural gases in deep boreholes above the water table enables to reduce the climatic-induced periodic contributions, and thus to identify the specific portion of the radon signals that could be related to regional tectonic pre-seismic activity. The plausible pre-seismic local movement of the two gases at depth - is identified by the appearance of discrete, random, non-cyclical signals, wider in time duration than 20 h and clearly wider than the sum of the width of the periodic diurnal and semidiurnal signals driven by ambient meteorological parameters. These non-cyclical signals may precede, by one day or more, a forthcoming seismic event. Hence, it is plausible to conclude that monitoring of any other natural gas that is present at depth may show a similar broadening signal and may serve as a precursor too. The necessary technical conditions enabling to distinguish between anomalous signals of gases that may be induced locally by pre-seismic processes at depth, and the relatively low periodic signals that are still established at depth related to external climatic conditions, are presented in detail.

Original languageEnglish
Article number559298
JournalFrontiers in Earth Science
StatePublished - 30 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2020 Zafrir, Barbosa, Levintal, Weisbrod, Ben Horin and Zalevsky.


  • barometric pumping
  • borehole monitoring
  • earthquake precursors
  • radon monitoring
  • thermal flow in porous media


Dive into the research topics of 'The Impact of Atmospheric and Tectonic Constraints on Radon-222 and Carbon Dioxide Flow in Geological Porous Media - A Dozen-Year Research Summary'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this