Geochemistry Sampling for Traditional and Multicomponent Equilibrium Geothermometry in Southweast Idaho

Authors: Cannon, Cody; Wood, Thomas; Neupane, Ghanashyam; McLing, Travis; Mattson, Earl; Dobson, Patrick; Conrad, Mark
Keywords: Eastern Snake River Plain; geothermal; geothermometry; geochemistry; heat flow; RTEst; MEG
Conference: Geothermal Resources Council Transactions Session: Exploration; Geological surveys; Geochemical surveys; Geothe
Year: 2014 Language: English
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Abstract: The Eastern Snake River Plain (ESRP) is an area of high regional heat flux due the movement of the North American Plate over the Yellowstone Hotspot beginning ca.16 Ma. Temperature gradients between 45-60 ?C/km (up to double the global average) have been calculated from deep wells that penetrate the upper aquifer system (Blackwell 1989). Despite the high geothermal potential, thermal signatures from hot springs and wells are effectively masked by the rapid flow of cold groundwater through the highly permeable basalts of the Eastern Snake River Plain aquifer (ESRPA) (up to 500+ m thick). This preliminary study is part of an effort to more accurately predict temperatures of the ESRP deep thermal reservoir while accounting for the effects of the prolific cold water aquifer system above. This study combines the use of traditional geothermometry, mixing models, and a multicomponent equilibrium geothermometry (MEG) tool to investigate the geothermal potential of the ESRP. In March, 2014, a collaborative team including members of the University of Idaho, the Idaho National Laboratory, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory collected 14 thermal water samples from and adjacent to the Eastern Snake River Plain. The preliminary results of chemical analyses and geothermometry applied to these samples are presented herein.
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