Radiometrics At Salt Wells Area (Coolbaugh, Et Al., 2006)

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Exploration Activity: Radiometrics At Salt Wells Area (Coolbaugh, Et Al., 2006)

Exploration Activity Details
Location Salt Wells Geothermal Area
Exploration Technique Radiometrics
Activity Date 2005 - 2005

Usefulness useful
DOE-funding Unknown

Exploration Basis
Geochemical water sampling, mineral distribution mapping, and shallow (30 cm) temperature probe measurements were conducted to expand on a previous field mapping study of surface geothermal features at Salt Wells, in order to evaluate the relationship between these features and structures that control geothermal fluid flow.
Borate minerals tincalconite and borax, sodium sulfate minerals mirabilite and thenardite, and common NaCl (salt) were identified using a hand-held Analytical Spectral Devices, Inc. Fieldspec® spectroradiometer. Borate minerals identified at Eight Mile Flat on the higher elevation, thermally active structures on the northwestern side of the basin and high NaCl concentrations on the lower elevation, southeastern side of the basin suggest that mapping of evaporite mineral occurrences could be used as a vectoring tool in geothermal exploration in playa environments. Distribution of these minerals reflects a rough, basin-scale evaporite mineral zonation that relates to the high temperature dependence of borax precipitation and the susceptibility of NaCl to remobilization in meteoric water at low temperature. Remote sensing methods for identifying regional-scale zoning of these minerals using ASTER satellite imagery is explored in subsequent studies of other geothermal areas in the Great Basin. Sulfate evaporates were more widely distributed, and may therefore be less useful from an exploration standpoint.


Additional References