Conceptual Model At Salt Wells Area (Faulds, Et Al., 2011)
Exploration Activity: Conceptual Model At Salt Wells Area (Faulds, Et Al., 2011)
|Exploration Activity Details|
|Location||Salt Wells Geothermal Area|
|Exploration Technique||Conceptual Model|
|Usefulness||useful regional reconnaissance|
|DOE-funding||ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act)|
The paper reports on the first phase of a three-stage DOE-ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act)-funded study that integrates knowledge of favorable structural settings in the Great Basin region with the goal of developing a structural catalogue that can be used to refine exploration strategies for geothermal resources (particularly for blind/hidden systems) and reduce drilling risks. The work expands upon previous research efforts to characterize controlling structures at select geothermal areas in the Great Basin. Subsequent stages of the study will include detailed examination and 3D modeling of select geothermal fields.
This compilation integrates geologic and geophysical data from numerous studies in order to characterize structural controls associated with geothermal areas of the Great Basin, including the Salt Wells geothermal field. Of the roughly 245 geothermal areas reviewed during the first phase of the study, ~32% were associated with step-overs or relay ramps in normal fault zones (e.g. Desert Peak, Tungsten Mountain); ~22% were associated with intersection between normal faults and either transversely oriented oblique-slip or strike-slip faults (e.g. Roosevelt Hot Springs, Blue Mountain, Crump Geyser); ~22% were associated with normal fault terminations or tip-lines where horse-tailing creates multiple closely-spaced fault splays (e.g. Gerlach, Desert Queen, Grover's Hot Springs); and ~13% were associated with a subset of fault intersection types that include accomodation zones and displacement transfer zones (e.g. Moana, McGinness Hills, Amedee, etc.). A more complete list of structural settings (including less common host structures not listed here) associated with geothermal areas can be found in the text. Salt Wells is unique in that it is a relatively high enthalpy system that relates to more than one type of favorable structural settings discussed in the report. The system occurs within an accommodation zone between west- and east-dipping normal faults, at the south end of the major east-dipping Humboldt Structural Zone (HSZ), and possibly within a small displacement transfer zone that appears to relate to the Walker Lane structural belt. The intersection of these features likely results in increased permeability that enhances hydrothermal fluid flow.
- James E. Faulds, Nicholas H. Hinz, Mark F. Coolbaugh, Patricia H. Cashman, Christopher Kratt, Gregory Dering, Joel Edwards, Brett Mayhew, Holly McLachlan (2011) Assessment of Favorable Structural Settings of Geothermal Systems in the Great Basin, Western USA