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GMEG - Geology, Minerals, Energy, & Geophysics Science Center

Geothermal Resource Investigations





Database Development and National Geothermal Data System Collaboration

Issue: From the early 1970s through the early 1990s, geothermal energy companies conducted intense exploration and development across the western United States. The geothermal industry discovered new hydrothermal systems, studied previously identified systems, began to produce power from some and decided others were not worth the effort. These industry efforts proceeded in parallel with DOE- and USGS-funded research projects. When the previous assessment, Circular 790, was published in 1979, almost all of the data from these activities was either unavailable or not yet collected. In support of the new assessment, project staff embarked on a comprehensive survey of the available information on geothermal systems. The project collected and compiled existing data from the geothermal industry, and these data were supplemented by extensive paper and electronic records maintained by the USGS, DOE and the states, as well as publications. In addition, the project conducted targeted field studies to acquire new data in order to fill critical data gaps and/or advance our understanding of geothermal resources. All of the data acquired or compiled as part of the completed and ongoing assessment work need to be released to the public through accessible online databases. Concurrent with our effort, DOE has funded an National Geothermal Data System (NGDS) project that is a consortium of institutions to develop common tools for archiving and accessing geothermal data. This project task encompasses our work with the NGDS to compile and release geothermal databases.

Objectives: Geological, geophysical and geochemical databases developed for geothermal resource assessment studies will be restructured in a series of databases that can be released to and utilized by both the geothermal community and the general public. Key components of the database acquisition, development, and research efforts will be conducted in partnership with NGDS partners and industry experts.


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