skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: Slip and Dilation Tendency Analysis of the Salt Wells Geothermal Area

Critically stressed fault segments have a relatively high likelihood of acting as fluid flow conduits (Sibson, 1994). As such, the tendency of a fault segment to slip (slip tendency; Ts; Morris et al., 1996) or to dilate (dilation tendency; Td; Ferrill et al., 1999) provides an indication of which faults or fault segments within a geothermal system are critically stressed and therefore likely to transmit geothermal fluids. The slip tendency of a surface is defined by the ratio of shear stress to normal stress on that surface: Ts = τ / σn (Morris et al., 1996). Dilation tendency is defined by the stress acting normal to a given surface: Td = (σ1-σn) / (σ1-σ3) (Ferrill et al., 1999). Slip and dilation were calculated using 3DStress (Southwest Research Institute). Slip and dilation tendency are both unitless ratios of the resolved stresses applied to the fault plane by ambient stress conditions. Values range from a maximum of 1, a fault plane ideally oriented to slip or dilate under ambient stress conditions to zero, a fault plane with no potential to slip or dilate. Slip and dilation tendency values were calculated for each fault in the focus study areas at, McGinness Hills, Nealmore » Hot Springs, Patua, Salt Wells, San Emidio, and Tuscarora on fault traces. As dip is not well constrained or unknown for many faults mapped in within these we made these calculations using the dip for each fault that would yield the maximum slip tendency or dilation tendency. As such, these results should be viewed as maximum tendency of each fault to slip or dilate. The resulting along-fault and fault-to-fault variation in slip or dilation potential is a proxy for along fault and fault-to-fault variation in fluid flow conduit potential. Stress Magnitudes and directions Stress field variation within each focus area was approximated based on regional published data and the world stress database (Hickman et al., 2000; Hickman et al., 1998 Robertson-Tait et al., 2004; Hickman and Davatzes, 2010; Davatzes and Hickman, 2006; Blake and Davatzes 2011; Blake and Davatzes, 2012; Moeck et al., 2010; Moos and Ronne, 2010 and Reinecker et al., 2005) as well as local stress information if applicable. For faults within these focus systems we applied either a normal faulting stress regime where the vertical stress (sv) is larger than the maximum horizontal stress (shmax) which is larger than the minimum horizontal stress (sv>shmax>shmin) or strike-slip faulting stress regime where the maximum horizontal stress (shmax) is larger than the vertical stress (sv) which is larger than the minimum horizontal stress (shmax >sv>shmin) depending on the general tectonic province of the system. Based on visual inspection of the limited stress magnitude data in the Great Basin we used magnitudes such that shmin/shmax = .527 and shmin/sv= .46, which are consistent with complete and partial stress field determinations from Desert Peak, Coso, the Fallon area and Dixie valley (Hickman et al., 2000; Hickman et al., 1998 Robertson-Tait et al., 2004; Hickman and Davatzes, 2011; Davatzes and Hickman, 2006; Blake and Davatzes 2011; Blake and Davatzes, 2012). Slip and dilation tendency for the Salt Wells geothermal field was calculated based on the faults mapped in the Bunejug Mountains quadrangle (Hinz et al., 2011). The Salt Wells area lies in the Basin and Range Province (N. Hinz personal comm.) As such we applied a normal faulting stress regime to the Salt Wells area faults, with a minimum horizontal stress direction oriented 105, based on inspection of local and regional stress determinations. Under these stress conditions north-northeast striking, steeply dipping fault segments have the highest dilation tendency, while north-northeast striking 60° dipping fault segments have the highest tendency to slip. Several such faults intersect in high density in the core of the accommodation zone in the Bunejug Mountains and local to the Salt Wells geothermal .« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Data Type:
Specialized Mix
Research Org:
DOE Geothermal Data Repository; University of Nevada Reno
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Geothermal Technologies Office (EE-4G)
Contributing Orgs:
University of Nevada Reno
Country of Publication:
United States
15 Geothermal Energy geothermal; Salt Wells Geothermal Area; Slip Tendency Analysis; Dilation Tendency Analysis; Slip Tendency; Dilation Tendency