The Northwest Geysers High-Temperature Reservoir- Evidence For Active Magmatic Degassing And Implications For The Origin Of The Geysers Geothermal Field

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Journal Article: The Northwest Geysers High-Temperature Reservoir- Evidence For Active Magmatic Degassing And Implications For The Origin Of The Geysers Geothermal Field

Abstract
Noble gas isotope abundances in steam from the Coldwater Creek field of the Northwest Geysers, California, show mixing between a nearly pure mid-ocean ridge (MOR) type magmatic gas with high 3He/4He and low radiogenic 40*Ar (R/Ra > 8.3 and 40*Ar/4He < 0.07), and a magmatic gas diluted with crustal gas (R/Ra < 6.6 and 40*Ar/4He > 0.25). The 3He-enriched component is positively correlated with 4He/40*Ar ratios, total helium to non-condensable gas ratios, and the ratios of total helium to atmospheric noble gases, and is accompanied by mantle-like 3He/CO2 and 4He/36Ar ratios. The steam samples most enriched in this high 3Hecomponent are produced from a high-temperature reservoir (HTR) and are also the most enriched in total gas and HCl. These results support the hypothesis of active magma degassing beneath the Northwest Geysers, suggest that a significant fraction of the non-condensable gases produced with steam from the HTR is magmatic, and add new constraints to genetic models of the system and its evolution. The intensity of the magmatic signal is inconsistent with deep boiling of connate or metamorphic waters and suggests active magma degassing. A correlation between magmatic helium and non-condensable gases implies that the HTR high-gas component is also magmatic and that the formation of the HTR was possibly related to magmatic intrusion. Magmatic input is unlikely to decline on the time scale of production, but injection of water into the HTR would have multiple benefits: (1) pressure and steam flow would increase; (2) gas concentrations would decrease by dilution with low-gas steam from vaporized liquid; and (3) HCl in steam would be removed once a liquid phase is established. High 3He/4He ratios in steam produced from the reservoirs in the southern parts of The Geysers suggest the presence of a similar HTR underlying these portions of the field. Monitoring of 3He content may provide early warning of potential pressure drawdown and entry of corrosive, high-gas HTR steam.

Authors 
B. Mack Kennedy and Alfred H. Truesdell








Published Journal 
Geothermics, 1996





DOI 
10.1016/0375-6505(96)00005-3


 

Citation

B. Mack Kennedy,Alfred H. Truesdell. 1996. The Northwest Geysers High-Temperature Reservoir- Evidence For Active Magmatic Degassing And Implications For The Origin Of The Geysers Geothermal Field. Geothermics. (!) .