Hydrothermal Alteration In The Aluto-Langano Geothermal Field, Ethiopia

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Journal Article: Hydrothermal Alteration In The Aluto-Langano Geothermal Field, Ethiopia

The hydrothermal mineral assemblages found in eight wells (with a depth range of 1320-2500 m) of the active geothermal field of Aluto-Langano (Ethiopia) indicate a complex evolution of water-rock interaction processes. The zone of upflow is characterized by high temperatures (up to 335°C) and the presence of a propylitic alteration (epidote, calcite, quartz and chlorite, as major phases) coexisting with calcite and clay minerals. The zone of lateral outflow is characterized by mixing of deep and shallow waters and the occurrence of a calcite-clay alteration that overprints a previous propylitic assemblage. Clay minerals have a mushroom-shaped zonal distribution consistent with the present thermal structure of the field. Microprobe analyses have been carried out on chlorite and illite in order to apply several geothermometers. Most of the chlorite is iron-rich chlorite. It is found that the temperatures calculated from the chlorite geothermometer (159-292°C) after Cathelineau and Nieva (Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 91, 235-244 (1985)) are in good agreement with in-hole measured temperatures (155-300°C). In the upflow zone, temperatures calculated from this geothermometer (217-292°C), together with fluid inclusion data of Valori et al. (Eur. J. Mineral. 4, 907-919 (1992)), and computed saturation indices of alteration minerals, indicate thermal stability or slight heating. On the other hand, evidence of a significant cooling process (up to 171°C) in the outflow zone is provided by the comparison between fluid inclusion homogenization temperature (240-326°C) and in-hole temperature (155-250°C). The apparent salinities (0.8-2.3 wt% NaCl eq.) of the fluid inclusions are generally higher than the salinity of the present reservoir fluid (0.29-0.36 wt% NaCl eq.). Clay minerals (illite, smectite, Ill/S mixed layers, vermiculite and chloritic intergrades) generally occur at temperatures consistent with their stability fields.

Meseret Teklemariam, Stefano Battaglia, Giovanni Gianelli and Giovanni Ruggieri

Published Journal 
Geothermics, 1996

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Meseret Teklemariam,Stefano Battaglia,Giovanni Gianelli,Giovanni Ruggieri. 1996. Hydrothermal Alteration In The Aluto-Langano Geothermal Field, Ethiopia. Geothermics. (!) .