Clay Minerals Related To The Hydrothermal Activity Of The Bouillante Geothermal Field (Guadeloupe)

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Journal Article: Clay Minerals Related To The Hydrothermal Activity Of The Bouillante Geothermal Field (Guadeloupe)

The geothermal field of Bouillante (Guadeloupe, FWI) is a high-enthalpy hydrothermal system emplaced in submarine volcanoclastic formations (hyaloclastites, scarce lava flows) and subaerial formations (andesitic lava flows, pyroclastites, lahars) which belong to the Lesser Antilles arc. Three directional wells were drilled in 2001 to optimize the productivity of the geothermal field up to 15 MWe and to investigate the vertical distribution of clay alteration from the surface area down to a depth of 1000 m where temperatures exceed 250°C. Special attention has been paid to the "clay signature" of the fractured zones which channel the present geothermal fluids. Three successive zones, dominated, respectively by dioctahedral smectite, illite and chlorite were identified at increasing depths. Alteration petrography indicates that these mineralogical clay zones result from the spatial superimposition of at least two successive alteration stages. The first one, assimilated to a propylitic alteration stage, affected all parts of the system and consisted of crystallization of trioctahedral phyllosilicates (chlorite or corrensite), Ca-silicates (heulandite-clinoptilolite, prehnite, pumpelleyite, wairakite and epidote), quartz and minor calcite in replacement of most of the primary minerals of the intersected volcanic or volcanoclastic formations. The later stage of alteration is related to the circulation of the present geothermal fluids and is assimilated to argillic or phyllic alteration. It consists of a more or less intense argillization which results from the crystallization of aluminous dioctahedral clay phases (smectite, illite ± I-S mixed layers, and accessory kaolinite) associated with quartz, calcite, hematite or pyrite. The permeable zones which channel most of the present geothermal fluids are fracture controlled and do not contain specific clay parageneses. However the illite ± I-S mixed layers minerals differ from those of the surroundings by specific properties including both crystal structure and texture. These specific properties (decrease in the expandable component of the illitic material, increase of the illite crystallinity) can be controlled by the nucleation/growth rates operating in zones of active flow regime. Being mainly a product of the earlier propylitic alteration stage, chlorites are much less informative on the fracture controlled permeable levels. However, the compositional variations of chlorites recorded within the shallower fractured zone suggest a significant change in fO2 conditions related to early circulation of fluids along the major near west striking normal faults (Plateau fault).

A. Mas, D. Guisseau, P. Patrier Mas, D. Beaufort, A. Genter, B. Sanjuan and J. P. Girard

Published Journal 
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 2006

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A. Mas,D. Guisseau,P. Patrier Mas,D. Beaufort,A. Genter,B. Sanjuan,J. P. Girard. 2006. Clay Minerals Related To The Hydrothermal Activity Of The Bouillante Geothermal Field (Guadeloupe). Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. (!) .