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Title: 3D Model of the San Emidio Geothermal Area

The San Emidio geothermal system is characterized by a left-step in a west-dipping normal fault system that bounds the western side of the Lake Range. The 3D geologic model consists of 5 geologic units and 55 faults. Overlying Jurrassic-Triassic metasedimentary basement is a ~500 m-1000 m thick section of the Miocene lower Pyramid sequence, pre- syn-extensional Quaternary sedimentary rocks and post-extensional Quaternary rocks. 15-30º eastward dip of the stratigraphy is controlled by the predominant west-dipping fault set. Both geothermal production and injection are concentrated north of the step over in an area of closely spaced west dipping normal faults.
Authors:
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
365
DOE Contract Number:
EE0002748
Product Type:
Dataset
Research Org(s):
DOE Geothermal Data Repository; University of Nevada Reno
Collaborations:
University of Nevada Reno
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Geothermal Technologies Program (EE-2C)
Subject:
15 Geothermal Energy; geothermal; San Emidio Geothermal Area; 3D Model
OSTI Identifier:
1136724
  1. The Geothermal Data Repository (GDR) is the submission point for all data collected from researchers funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Geothermal Technologies Office (DOE GTO). The DOE GTO is providing access to its geothermal project information through the GDR. The GDR is powered by OpenEI, an energy information portal sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
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  1. The Tuscarora geothermal system sits within a ~15 km wide left-step in a major west-dipping range-bounding normal fault system. The step over is defined by the Independence Mountains fault zone and the Bull Runs Mountains fault zone which overlap along strike. Strain is transferred betweenmore » these major fault segments via and array of northerly striking normal faults with offsets of 10s to 100s of meters and strike lengths of less than 5 km. These faults within the step over are one to two orders of magnitude smaller than the range-bounding fault zones between which they reside. Faults within the broad step define an anticlinal accommodation zone wherein east-dipping faults mainly occupy western half of the accommodation zone and west-dipping faults lie in the eastern half of the accommodation zone. The 3D model of Tuscarora encompasses 70 small-offset normal faults that define the accommodation zone and a portion of the Independence Mountains fault zone, which dips beneath the geothermal field. The geothermal system resides in the axial part of the accommodation, straddling the two fault dip domains. The Tuscarora 3D geologic model consists of 10 stratigraphic units. Unconsolidated Quaternary alluvium has eroded down into bedrock units, the youngest and stratigraphically highest bedrock units are middle Miocene rhyolite and dacite flows regionally correlated with the Jarbidge Rhyolite and modeled with uniform cumulative thickness of ~350 m. Underlying these lava flows are Eocene volcanic rocks of the Big Cottonwood Canyon caldera. These units are modeled as intracaldera deposits, including domes, flows, and thick ash deposits that change in thickness and locally pinch out. The Paleozoic basement of consists metasedimenary and metavolcanic rocks, dominated by argillite, siltstone, limestone, quartzite, and metabasalt of the Schoonover and Snow Canyon Formations. Paleozoic formations are lumped in a single basement unit in the model. Fault blocks in the eastern portion of the model are tilted 5-30 degrees toward the Independence Mountains fault zone. Fault blocks in the western portion of the model are tilted toward steeply east-dipping normal faults. These opposing fault block dips define a shallow extensional anticline. Geothermal production is from 4 closely-spaced wells, that exploit a west-dipping, NNE-striking fault zone near the axial part of the accommodation zone. « less
  2. The McGinness Hills geothermal system lies in a ~8.5 km wide, north-northeast trending accommodation zone defined by east-dipping normal faults bounding the Toiyabe Range to the west and west-dipping normal faults bounding the Simpson Park Mountains to the east. Within this broad accommodation zone liesmore » a fault step-over defined by north-northeast striking, west-dipping normal faults which step to the left at roughly the latitude of the McGinness Hills geothermal system. The McGinness Hills 3D model consists of 9 geologic units and 41 faults. The basal geologic units are metasediments of the Ordovician Valmy and Vininni Formations (undifferentiated in the model) which are intruded by Jurassic granitic rocks. Unconformably overlying is a ~100s m-thick section of Tertiary andesitic lava flows and four Oligocene-to-Miocene ash-flow tuffs: The Rattlesnake Canyon Tuff, tuff of Sutcliffe, the Cambell Creek Tuff and the Nine Hill tuff. Overlying are sequences of pre-to-syn-extensional Quaternary alluvium and post-extensional Quaternary alluvium. 10-15º eastward dip of the Tertiary stratigraphy is controlled by the predominant west-dipping fault set. Geothermal production comes from two west dipping normal faults in the northern limb of the step over. Injection is into west dipping faults in the southern limb of the step over. Production and injection sites are in hydrologic communication, but at a deep level, as the northwest striking fault that links the southern and northern limbs of the step-over has no permeability. « less
  3. 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) providesmore » 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, Neal 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 Tuscarora geothermal field was calculated based on the faults mapped Tuscarora area (Dering, 2013). The Tuscarora area lies in the Basin and Range Province, as such we applied a normal faulting stress regime to the Tuscarora area faults, with a minimum horizontal stress direction oriented 115, based on inspection of local and regional stress determinations, as explained above. 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. Tuscarora is defined by a left-step in a major north- to-north northeast striking, west-dipping range-bounding normal fault system. Faults within the broad step define an anticlinal accommodation zone... « less
  4. Slip and Dilation Tendency in focus areas 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 (dilationmore » 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, Neal 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 McGinness Hills geothermal field was calculated based on the faults mapped McGinness Hills area (Siler 2012, unpublished). The McGinness Hills area lies in the Basin and Range Province, as such we applied a normal faulting stress regime to the McGinness area faults, with a minimum horizontal stress direction oriented 115, based on inspection of local and regional stress determinations, as explained above. 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. The McGinness Hills geothermal system is characterized by a left-step in a north-northeast striking west-dipping fault system wit... « less
  5. Slip and Dilation Tendency in focus areas 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 (dilationmore » 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, Neal 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). Based on inversion of fault kinematic data, Edwards (2013) interpreted that two discrete stress orientations are preserved at Neal Hot Springs. An older episode of east-west directed extension and a younger episode of southwest-northeast directed sinistral, oblique -normal extension. This interpretation is consistent with the evolution of Cenozoic tectonics in the region (Edwards, 2013). As such we applied a southwest-northeast (060) directed normal faulting stress regime, consistent with the younger extensional episode, to the Neal Hot Springs faults. Under these stress conditions northeast striking steeply dipping fault segments have the highest tendency to dilate and northeast striking 60° dipping fault segments have the highest tendency to slip. Under these stress condition... « less