GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 63-12
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


ADAMSON, Mackenzie, University at Buffalo, 12 Capen Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260,

At least 70,000 oil and gas wells have been drilled in New York State since the 1800s, but locations for nearly 40,000 of them remain unknown. Such wells are considered to be abandoned and can act as conduits for the contamination of groundwater supplies by oil, gas, brines and other pollutants. Over time, the casings of abandoned wells eventually develop leaks, which, if not properly plugged, can allow pollutants to reach freshwater aquifers that supply drinking water. The goal here is to implement a new method to locate abandoned oil and gas wells in Western New York to ensure that they have been properly decommissioned. Carefully designed ground magnetic and aeromagnetic surveys using a potassium vapor magnetometer and drone will locate wells by mapping the magnetic disturbances or anomalies produced by their steel casings. Latitude and longitude coordinates of the wells have been recorded using the magnetometer’s integrated GPS system, while data processing using GEM Systems Software, Oasis Montaj, and MatLab have been used to analyze and generate maps of the magnetic field data that is acquired. In addition to reducing the potential for environmental contamination, mapping the magnetic field strengths of the subsurface will determine if there is a magnetic signature unique to wells. This would be beneficial to subsurface exploration geophysicists as it would provide an origin to certain anomalies observed, as well as a direct and efficient method for locating abandoned wells.