Heat flow determinations and implied thermal regime of the Coso geothermal area, California

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Conference Proceedings: Heat flow determinations and implied thermal regime of the Coso geothermal area, California

Abstract
Obvious surface manifestations of an anomalous concentration of geothermal energy at the Coso Geothermal Area, California, include fumarolic activity, active hot springs, and associated hydrothermally altered rocks. Abundant Pleistocene volcanic rocks, including a cluster of thirty-seven rhyolite domes, occupy a north-trending structural and topographic ridge near the center of an oval-shaped zone of late Cenozoic ring faulting. In an investigation of the thermal regime of the geothermal area, temperatures have been obtained to depths up to 133 m in 22 boreholes with measurements being made at least four times in each borehole. Geothermal gradients ranged from 24 C/km to 450 C/km. The high gradients arise from convecting hot water and magma which are cooled at shallow depth by conduction of heat to the surface. Thermal conductivity measurements ranging from 3.2 to 10.5 mcal/cm-sec-C were made on both cores and drill cuttings. The resultant heat flow values of 2.5 to 18 HFU are typical of geothermal areas. The actual process by which heat is transferred is rather complex; however, the heat flow determinations can be divided into two groups. The first group, less than 6.5 HFU, are indicative of regions with primarily conductive regimes although deep-seated mass transfer is implied. The second group, greater than 6.5 HFU, are characteristic of regions with considerable convective heat transfer in the shallow subsurface. The high heat flow values are essentially restricted to the central rhyolite dome field and the associated surface thermal manifestations. Heat transferred by convection of water would be rapidly exhausted if it were not intermittently supplied with energy from depth; therefore, the heat flow data substantiate the concept that the ring structure and associated volcanic rocks are products of a large magma chamber that has periodically erupted lava during the past one million years.

Authors 
Combs and J.  








Published 
Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 12/1/1976





DOI 
Not Provided
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Citation

Combs, J.  . 12/1/1976. Heat flow determinations and implied thermal regime of the Coso geothermal area, California. Proceedings of (!) ; (!) : Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union.


Related Geothermal Exploration Activities
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Areas (1)
  1. Coso Geothermal Area
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