A borehole drilled at Fiumicino (Rome) down to only 27 m depth in a zone where no gas emission at the surface was known, caused a gas blowout from a pressurized gas pocket confined beneath a clay cover. Gas slowly diffused from the borehole within superficial permeable sand. Seven persons living in three ground floor flats of a near building had to be hospitalized due to CO2 exposure. All the houses in the proximity were evacuated. At the request of the Fire Brigade two additional boreholes were drilled nearby, hoping that this could rapidly exhaust the gas stored underground. To the contrary the soil gas flux near houses increased and indoor CO2 air concentration rapidly rose to lethal values (15 to 30 vol.%). As a remediation we suggested to restore the continuity of the impervious gas cover by squeezing quick-setting cement into the formation through new boreholes to be drilled near the existing ones. Although the first cement squeeze reduced drastically the CO2 soil flux and indoor concentration, six additional squeezes had to be carried out in order to lower the gas emission below the gas hazard threshold. The gas was mostly made of CO2 (98 vol.%) with minor N2 and CH4. Its chemical and isotopic composition (δ13CCO2 = − 1.55; 3He/4He = 0.314 Ra) is similar to that of the gas manifestations of Mts. Sabatini and Alban Hills volcanic areas. Though being somewhat contaminated by crustal and shallow organic volatiles, these gases likely have a component originated in the mantle, that beneath the volcanic Roman Comagmatic Province is probably deeply contaminated with crustal material. The Fiumicino gas blowout indicates that the area of Central Italy characterized by strong CO2 degassing extends westerly to include the Tyrrhenian coast.
Barberi, F., Carapezza M., L., Ranaldi, M., Tarchini, L. (2007). Gas blowout from shallow boreholes at Fiumicino (Rome): Induced hazard and evidence of deep CO2 degassing on the Tyrrhenian margin of Central Italy. JOURNAL OF VOLCANOLOGY AND GEOTHERMAL RESEARCH, 165(1-2), 17-31 [10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2007.04.009].