Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Methane and Plants
Name: Theresa M.
Status: student
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 4/21/2003

I had a natural gas leak outside my house. The leak as fixed, however, there were pockets of gas stuck underground. The gas traveled up around my foundation and my landscaping. Now that spring has sprung some of my plants are dead. I was wondering if there are any studies done on how natural gas affects plants? I had contacted my local arboretum and they sent me elsewhere. Now I am trying the web looking for answers. Thank you.

I do not think that natural gas in the soil would directly kill vegetation. Plants take in oxygen through the stomates on their leaves, and respire carbon dioxide from their leaves also. The roots main function is the uptake of water and nutrients. Perhaps the mechanical effects of fixing the gas line, i.e., digging around your home actually severed the plant roots?

Anthony Brach, Ph.D

Click here to return to the Botany Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory