The Influence of Gas and Humidity on Salt Mineral Compositions Studied by In-situ XRD

The effect of humidity and gas atmosphere on different salt mineral compositions is investigated with in-situ XRD. The results are relevant when considering gas storage caverns in undisturbed salt formations.


Due to changing national energy policies and a global movement towards cleaner energy, demand for natu-ral gas is expected increase over the coming years. Consequently, there is increasing demand for tempo-rary gas storage which can act as both a “sink” and a “source” for gas supplies.

Undisturbed subterranean salt formations provide a possible storage method as they are practically im-permeable to fluids up to lithostatic pressure. This property, together with the fact that saliniferous rocks have a high solubility, means that the construction of technical caverns in salt structures is common prac-tice to create storage space for various commodities.

Ideally, any storage cavern would be cylindrical and be within a homogenous rock salt deposit. However, cavern contours often deviate from the ideal scenario due to the variable solubility of the host rock, where areas with low solubility impurities (e.g. anhydrite, dolomite) are mixed with areas of higher solubility (e.g. potash beds).

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