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Title: Three-Dimensional Geothermal Fairway Mapping: Examples From the Western Great Basin, USA

Elevated permeability along fault systems provides pathways for circulation of geothermal fluids. Accurate location of such fluid flow pathways in the subsurface is crucial to future geothermal development in order to both accurately assess resource potential and mitigate drilling costs by increasing drilling success rates. Employing a variety of surface and subsurface data sets, we present detailed 3D geologic analyses of two Great Basin geothermal systems, the actively producing Brady’s geothermal system and a ‘greenfield’ geothermal prospect at Astor Pass, Nevada. 3D modeling provides the framework for quantitative structural analyses. We combine 3D slip and dilation tendency analysis along fault zones and calculations of fault intersection density in the two geothermal systems with the locations of lithologies capable of supporting dense, interconnected fracture networks. The collocation of these permeability promoting characteristics with elevated heat represent geothermal ‘fairways’, areas with ideal conditions for geothermal fluid flow. Location of geothermal fairways at high resolution in 3D space can help to mitigate the costs of geothermal exploration by providing discrete drilling targets and data-based evaluations of reservoir potential.
 [1] ;  [1]
  1. Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, University of Nevada, Reno
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Resource Relation:
Conference: Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV September 29- October 2, 2013.
Research Org:
Geothermal Resources Council
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; USDOE EE Office of Geothermal Technologies (EE-2C)
Contributing Orgs:
Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, University of Nevada, Reno
Country of Publication:
United States
15 GEOTHERMAL ENERGY Geothermal, faults, Astor Pass, Pyramid Lake Paiute, 3D Geologic Model, structural controls, Great Basin