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Title: Microbial impacts on geothermometry temperature predictions
Creator/Author: Yoshiko Fujita ; David W. Reed ; Kaitlyn R. Nowak ; Vicki S. Thompson ; Travis L. McLing ; Robert W. Smith
Publication Date:2013 Feb 01
OSTI Identifier:OSTI 1076537
Report Number(s):INL/CON-12-27557
DOE Contract Number:DE-AC07-05ID14517
Document Type:Conference
Specific Type:
Resource Relation:Conference: Stanford Geothermal Workshop,Stanford University, Stanford, CA,02/11/2013,02/13/2013
Other Number(s):
Research Org:Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org:DOE - EE
Description/Abstract:Conventional geothermometry approaches assume that the composition of a collected water sample originating in a deep geothermal reservoir still reflects chemical equilibration of the water with the deep reservoir rocks. However, for geothermal prospecting samples whose temperatures have dropped to <120°C, temperature predictions may be skewed by the activity of microorganisms; microbial metabolism can drastically and rapidly change the water’s chemistry. We hypothesize that knowledge of microbial impacts on exploration sample geochemistry can be used to constrain input into geothermometry models and thereby improve the reliability of reservoir temperature predictions. To evaluate this hypothesis we have chosen to focus on sulfur cycling, because of the significant changes in redox state and pH associated with sulfur chemistry. Redox and pH are critical factors in defining the mineral-fluid equilibria that form the basis of solute geothermometry approaches. Initially we are developing assays to detect the process of sulfate reduction, using knowledge of genes specific to sulfate reducing microorganisms. The assays rely on a common molecular biological technique known as quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), which allows estimation of the number of target organisms in a particular sample by enumerating genes specific to the organisms rather than actually retrieving and characterizing the organisms themselves. For quantitation of sulfate reducing genes using qPCR, we constructed a plasmid (a piece of DNA) containing portions of two genes (known as dsrA and dsrB) that are directly involved with sulfate reduction and unique to sulfate reducing microorganisms. Using the plasmid as well as DNA from other microorganisms known to be sulfate reducers or non-sulfate reducers, we developed qPCR protocols and showed the assay’s specificity to sulfate reducers and that a qPCR standard curve using the plasmid was linear over >5 orders of magnitude. As a first test with actual field samples, the assay was applied to DNA extracted from water collected at springs located in and around the town of Soda Springs, Idaho. Soda Springs is located in the fold and thrust belt on the eastern boundary of the track of the Yellowstone Hotspot, where a deep carbon dioxide source believed to originate from Mississippian limestone contacts acidic hydrothermal fluids at depth. Both sulfate and sulfide have been measured in samples collected previously at Soda Springs. Preliminary results indicate that sulfate reducing genes were present in each of the samples tested. Our work supports evaluation of the potential for microbial processes to have altered water chemistry in geothermal exploration samples.
Country of Publication:US
Size/Format:Medium: ED
System Entry Date:2013 Apr 25
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