Rio Grande Rift Geothermal Region

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Rio Grande Rift Geothermal Region

The Rio Grande Rift represents the easternmost manifestation of widespread extension in the western U.S. during the past 35 million years. The rift consists of three major basins and many smaller basins, less than 100 km2. The three major basins (from northernmost to southernmost) are the San Luis, Espanola, and Albuquerque basins. Further south, a network of smaller basins run together. These are less topographically distinct and are typified by alternating basin and ranges. The distinction between these smaller basins and the Basin and Range Province becomes blurred in northern Mexico, and is not well defined. Basin size generally decreases to the north in the rift, where the Española covers approximately 120 km north-south and 40 km east-west, and the San Luis is roughly 120 km by 80 km. These basins may contain smaller units within them, such as the Alamosa basin within the San Luis, which is bounded by the San Juan and Tusas mountains on the west and the Sangre de Cristo mountain range in the east.[4] The Albuquerque basin is the largest of the three basins, spanning 160 km north-south and 86 km east-west at its widest points. It is the oldest of the three major basins, and contains 7,350 m of Paleogene clastic sediments deposited on Precambrian basement. The southernmost Albuquerque basin contains pre-rift volcanic deposits, while the central and northern portions contain volcanics erupted during rifting. Assessment of Moderate- and High-Temperature Geothermal Resources of the United States[1]


  1.  "Assessment of Moderate- and High-Temperature Geothermal Resources of the United States"
Geothermal Region Data
State(s) Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas

Area 130,309 km²130,309,000,000 m²
50,299.274 mi²
1,402,633,045,100 ft²
155,849,564,000 yd²
32,200,005.445 acres
USGS Resource Estimate for this Region
Identified Mean Potential 227 MW227,000 kW
227,000,000 W
227,000,000,000 mW
0.227 GW
2.27e-4 TW
Undiscovered Mean Potential 1,137 MW1,137,000 kW
1,137,000,000 W
1,137,000,000,000 mW
1.137 GW
0.00114 TW
Planned Capacity
Planned Capacity 15 MW15,000 kW
15,000,000 W
15,000,000,000 mW
0.015 GW
1.5e-5 TW
Plants Included
in Planned Estimate
Plants with Unknown
Planned Capacity

Geothermal Areas within the Rio Grande Rift Geothermal Region

Energy Generation Facilities within the Rio Grande Rift Geothermal Region

Geothermal Power Projects within the Rio Grande Rift Geothermal Region

Geothermal Development Projects in the Region(per GEA's Annual U.S. Geothermal Power Production and Development Report (April 2011))

Geothermal Exploration Techniques used within the Rio Grande Rift Geothermal Region