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helium molecule



Helium is a valuable naturally occurring gas that is receiving increased attention including from petroleum explorationists.

Helium exploration was part of the NURE (National Uranium Resource Evaluation) program conducted by the USGS in the 1970’s and 80’s as a way to indirectly locate uranium deposits.

Soil gas sampling methods developed for helium inspired some of the soil gas methods used in petroleum exploration today.








Example: Tohache Wash




GeoFrontiers analyzed soil gas samples for helium exploration by Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company (NNOGC). One of the projects was the Tohache Wash prospect.

Tohache Wash is located in the Four Corners area of the Western United States, a region of established heium production.




Tohache Wash


Apache County, Arizona, USA

Producing reservoir

Mississippian Leadville Fm.

Key Well


1960 ⇒ Drilled by Texaco

1967 ⇒ Completed by Texaco

2015 ⇒ Re-entered by NNOGC



Distribution of helium concentration at shallow sample depths.
The Navajo-Z well is marked by the red dot on the map, contours depict structure of the Leadville Formation

Tohache Wash Map

Courtesy of Mark Andreason, NNOGC






Sample Collection


Currently available soil gas probes and evacuated glass sample containers are excellent for helium sample collection.


Design your program and collection layout


Discover our collection method using our Soil Gas Probe







Experience with helium surveys from the 1980’s is the basis for our current helium capabilities.


Helium analysis by mass spectrometry as pioneered by the USGS has been modified and updated to provide detection well below atmospheric concentrations of 5.24 ppmv.



Helium Mass Spec Diatron

Figure by Paula Fleischmann


Helium Pathway Schematic

Figure by Paula Fleischmann








Concentration data are mapped over sample area.



tohache wash map 2

Courtesy of Mark Andreason, NNOGC