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

Geothermal Resource Investigations





Hydrothermal Field Studies

Issue: Research on selected hydrothermal systems is critical to the understanding of geothermal resources, either because the systems are thought to be representative of the province as a whole or because they offer exceptional opportunities to collect unique, high-quality, data. Hydrothermal systems targeted for investigation include both magmatic and deep circulation systems. The relevant questions for each type of hydrothermal system are generally the same. What is the nature of the heat source? What are the origins and ages of the reservoir fluids? What controls the magnitude and distribution of permeability? How does the size and location of the system depend on the interaction of active tectonics, magmatism and hydrologic processes?

Objectives: The primary objectives for this task are to (1) collect, analyze and interpret those regional datasets that will form the basis for the resource assessment and (2) support development of a conceptual model that ties observations of particular parameters (e.g., thermal state of the crust, variations in basin depths) to the physical and tectonic processes (e.g., active extension, magmatic intrusions, fault interactions) responsible for the formation of geothermal systems. Consequently, a key emphasis throughout the life of the project will be on determining how information available at the regional level can be used to identify factors critical to the formation of geothermal systems that are often smaller than 10 km2 in area and may not be characterized by abundant surface manifestations.


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