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Title: 3D characterization of a Great Basin geothermal system: Astor Pass, NV

Abstract

The Great Basin exhibits both anomalously high heat flow (~75±5 mWm-2) and active faulting and extension resulting in robust geothermal activity. There are ~430 known geothermal systems in the Great Basin, with evidence suggesting that undiscovered blind geothermal systems may actually represent the majority of geothermal activity. These systems employ discrete fault intersection/interaction areas as conduits for geothermal circulation. Recent studies show that steeply dipping normal faults with step-overs, fault intersections, accommodation zones, horse-tailing fault terminations and transtensional pull-aparts are the most prominent structural controls of Great Basin geothermal systems. These fault geometries produce sub-vertical zones of high fault and fracture density that act as fluid flow conduits. Structurally controlled fluid flow conduits are further enhanced when critically stressed with respect to the ambient stress conditions. The Astor Pass blind geothermal system, northwestern Nevada, lies along the boundary between the Basin and Range to the east and the Walker Lane to the west. Along this boundary, strain is transferred from dextral shear in the Walker Lane to west-northwest directed extension in the Basin and Range. As such, the Astor Pass area lies in a transtensional setting consisting of both northwest-striking, left-stepping dextral faults and more northerly striking normal faults. Themore » Astor Pass tufa tower implies the presence of a blind geothermal system. Previous studies suggest that deposition of the Astor Pass tufa was controlled by the intersection of a northwest-striking dextral normal fault and north-northwest striking normal fault. Subsequent drilling (to ~1200 m) has revealed fluid temperatures of ~94°C, confirming the presence of a blind geothermal system at Astor Pass. Expanding upon previous work and employing additional detailed geologic mapping, interpretation of 2D seismic reflection data and analysis of well cuttings, a 3-dimensional geologic model of the Astor Pass blind geothermal system was constructed. The 3D structural framework indicates that the Pleistocene tufa is associated with three discrete fault zones whose intersections plunge moderately to steeply NW-NNW. These critically stressed fault intersections act as conduits for upwelling geothermal fluids.« less

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
American Geophysicists Union
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE; USDOE EE Office of Geothermal Technologies (EE-2C)
Contributing Org.:
Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, University of Nevada, Reno
OSTI Identifier:
1110511
Report Number(s):
DOE-Pyramid-2842-dls-1
DOE Contract Number:  
EE0002842
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: American Geophysicists Union Annual Meeting, San Francisco, December 3-7
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
15 GEOTHERMAL ENERGY; Geothermal, faults, Astor Pass, Pyramid Lake Paiute, 3D Geologic Model, structural controls, Great Basin

Citation Formats

Siler, Drew L, Brett, Mayhew, and Faulds, James E. 3D characterization of a Great Basin geothermal system: Astor Pass, NV. United States: N. p., 2012. Web.
Siler, Drew L, Brett, Mayhew, & Faulds, James E. 3D characterization of a Great Basin geothermal system: Astor Pass, NV. United States.
Siler, Drew L, Brett, Mayhew, and Faulds, James E. Mon . "3D characterization of a Great Basin geothermal system: Astor Pass, NV". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1110511.
@article{osti_1110511,
title = {3D characterization of a Great Basin geothermal system: Astor Pass, NV},
author = {Siler, Drew L and Brett, Mayhew and Faulds, James E},
abstractNote = {The Great Basin exhibits both anomalously high heat flow (~75±5 mWm-2) and active faulting and extension resulting in robust geothermal activity. There are ~430 known geothermal systems in the Great Basin, with evidence suggesting that undiscovered blind geothermal systems may actually represent the majority of geothermal activity. These systems employ discrete fault intersection/interaction areas as conduits for geothermal circulation. Recent studies show that steeply dipping normal faults with step-overs, fault intersections, accommodation zones, horse-tailing fault terminations and transtensional pull-aparts are the most prominent structural controls of Great Basin geothermal systems. These fault geometries produce sub-vertical zones of high fault and fracture density that act as fluid flow conduits. Structurally controlled fluid flow conduits are further enhanced when critically stressed with respect to the ambient stress conditions. The Astor Pass blind geothermal system, northwestern Nevada, lies along the boundary between the Basin and Range to the east and the Walker Lane to the west. Along this boundary, strain is transferred from dextral shear in the Walker Lane to west-northwest directed extension in the Basin and Range. As such, the Astor Pass area lies in a transtensional setting consisting of both northwest-striking, left-stepping dextral faults and more northerly striking normal faults. The Astor Pass tufa tower implies the presence of a blind geothermal system. Previous studies suggest that deposition of the Astor Pass tufa was controlled by the intersection of a northwest-striking dextral normal fault and north-northwest striking normal fault. Subsequent drilling (to ~1200 m) has revealed fluid temperatures of ~94°C, confirming the presence of a blind geothermal system at Astor Pass. Expanding upon previous work and employing additional detailed geologic mapping, interpretation of 2D seismic reflection data and analysis of well cuttings, a 3-dimensional geologic model of the Astor Pass blind geothermal system was constructed. The 3D structural framework indicates that the Pleistocene tufa is associated with three discrete fault zones whose intersections plunge moderately to steeply NW-NNW. These critically stressed fault intersections act as conduits for upwelling geothermal fluids.},
doi = {},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1110511}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {12}
}

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