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Alexandra Maskell

Alexandra	 Maskell

Research Associate

Climate Change and Earth-Ocean-Atmosphere Systems

Petrology

Fluid-Rock Interactions

M08

Office Phone: +44 (0) 1223 333424

Research Interests

 CO2-fluid-rock reactions; fluid flow in the subsurface

The objective of my current research is to better understand how natural heterogeneities in rocks control the rate of CO2 dissolution into brine. 

By the end of the century global temperatures are predicted to surpass 2°C of warming. When the climatic impacts become undeniable to the world, not only will the energy, industry and transport sectors need to de-carbonise completely but negative emissions will become an essential mitigation strategy. This means CO2 will have to be sequestered from the atmosphere. Geological carbon storage is a critical technology in carbon reduction strategies and it will be the only option of dealing with the masses of CO2 that must be captured. In order to have a measurable effect on the climate the captured CO2 needs to be stored for at least 10,000 years. To ensure safe storage it is essential to understand the fundamental mechanisms and processes governing flow. As CO2 migrates through geological reservoirs it dissolves into the reservoir fluids and this has the potential to stabilise the flow of CO2 by dampening vertical migration and increasing CO2-brine contact areas. Accurately modelling dissolution in natural settings is hindered by the heterogeneous nature of geological reservoirs. These natural variations play a critical role in dissolution, but they are extremely complex to model because they occur on multiple length scales. As such it is essential to first study simple examples, i.e. lab experiments, to understand the fundamental physics.  My research combines tank experiments (illustrating the critical physics) with mathematical modelling as part of a wider project with colleagues in DAMPT/BPI (See figure below). These results will allow us to better understand observations and data from field-scale sites, i.e. Green River CO2 accumulation and Otway CCS site.  

 Tank Experiment

Keywords

Petrology ; Geochemistry

Key Publications

Maskell A., Kampman N., Chapman H., Condon D. J. & Bickle M. 2015. Kinetics of CO2–fluid–rock reactions in a basalt aquifer, Soda Springs, Idaho, Applied Geochemistry, 61, 272-283.

Maskell A. S. D., Duuring P. & Hagemann S. G. 2014. Hydrothermal alteration events controlling magnetite-rich iron ore at the Matthew Ridge prospect, Jack Hills greenstone belt, Yilgarn Craton. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences 61, 189–214.

 

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