skip to main content

Title: Silver Peak Innovative Exploration Project (Ram Power Inc.)

Data generated from the Silver Peak Innovative Exploration Project, in Esmeralda County, Nevada, encompasses a “deep-circulation (amagmatic)” meteoric-geothermal system circulating beneath basin-fill sediments locally blanketed with travertine in western Clayton Valley (lithium-rich brines from which have been mined for several decades). Spring- and shallow-borehole thermal-water geochemistry and geothermometry suggest that a Silver Peak geothermal reservoir is very likely to attain the temperature range 260- 300oF (~125-150oC), and may reach 300-340oF (~150-170oC) or higher (GeothermEx, Inc., 2006). Results of detailed geologic mapping, structural analysis, and conceptual modeling of the prospect (1) support the GeothermEx (op. cit.) assertion that the Silver Peak prospect has good potential for geothermal-power production; and (2) provide a theoretical geologic framework for further exploration and development of the resource. The Silver Peak prospect is situated in the transtensional (regional shearing coupled with extension) Walker Lane structural belt, and squarely within the late Miocene to Pliocene (11 Ma to ~5 Ma) Silver Peak-Lone Mountain metamorphic core complex (SPCC), a feature that accommodated initial displacement transfer between major right-lateral strike- slip fault zones on opposite sides of the Walker Lane. The SPCC consists essentially of a ductiley-deformed lower plate, or “core,” of Proterozoic metamorphic tectonites and tectonized Mesozoic granitoidsmore » separated by a regionally extensive, low-angle detachment fault from an upper plate of severely stretched and fractured structural slices of brittle, Proterozoic to Miocene-age lithologies. From a geothermal perspective, the detachment fault itself and some of the upper-plate structural sheets could function as important, if secondary, subhorizontal thermal-fluid aquifers in a Silver Peak hydrothermal system. « less
Authors:
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
268
DOE Contract Number:
EE0002844
Product Type:
Dataset
Research Org(s):
DOE Geothermal Data Repository; Ram Power, Inc.
Collaborations:
Ram Power, Inc.
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Geothermal Technologies Office (EE-4G)
Subject:
15 Geothermal Energy; geothermal; Silver Peak; Gravity; Magnetic; MT; Radiometrics; Regional Temperature; Remote Sensing; Resource Model; Seismic; Fluid Data; Well Data; Photos; Geology; Walker Lane; late Miocene; Pliocene; Lone Mountain; Esmeralda County; Nevada; Gravity Survey; Grid; Terrain; 5km; 10km; Upward Continued Regional Residual; Bouger; Horizontal Gravity Gradient; North America; Imperial County; Magnetic Report; TMI; IGRF; Total Magentic Intensity; Magnetotelluric Survey; MT Survey; Resistivity; 3D; ground MT; ZTEM; Radiometric Survey Silver Peak; 2010; 2011; Temperature; Shallow Temperature Gradient; Temperature Gradient Holes; TGH; ASTER; photographs; 2D; Seismic Reflection Survey; Faults; Mesquite; fluid; Chemistry; Map
OSTI Identifier:
1148794
  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).
No associated Collections found.
  1. Data generated from the Alum Innovative Exploration Project, one of several promising geothermal properties located in the middle to upper Miocene (~11-5 Ma, or million years BP) Silver Peak-Lone Mountain metamorphic core complex (SPCC) of the Walker Lane structural belt in Esmeralda County, west-central Nevada.more » The geothermal system at Alum is wholly concealed; its upper reaches discovered in the late 1970s during a regional thermal-gradient drilling campaign. The prospect boasts several shallow thermal-gradient (TG) boreholes with TG >75oC/km (and as high as 440oC/km) over 200-m intervals in the depth range 0-600 m. Possibly boiling water encountered at 239 m depth in one of these boreholes returned chemical- geothermometry values in the range 150-230oC. GeothermEx (2008) has estimated the electrical- generation capacity of the current Alum leasehold at 33 megawatts for 20 years; and the corresponding value for the broader thermal anomaly extending beyond the property at 73 megawatts for the same duration. « less
  2. 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 analysis for the Patua geothermal system was calculated based on faults mapped in the Hazen Quadrangle (Faulds et al., 2011). Patua lies near the margin between the Basin and Range province, which is characterized by west-northwest directed extension and the Walker Lane province, characterized by west-northwest directed dextral shear. As such, the Patua area likely has been affected by tectonic stress associated with either or both of stress regimes over geologic time. In order to characterize this stress variation we calculated slip tendency at Patua for both normal faulting and strike slip faulting stress regimes. Based on examination of regional and local stress data (as explained above) we applied at shmin direction of 105 to Patua. Whether the vertical stress (sv) magnitude is larger than ... « less
  3. These line shapefiles trace apparent topographic and air-photo lineaments in various counties in Colorado. It was made in order to identify possible fault and fracture systems that might be conduits for geothermal fluids, as part of a DOE reconnaissance geothermal exploration program. Geothermal fluids commonlymore » utilize fault and fractures in competent rocks as conduits for fluid flow. Geothermal exploration involves finding areas of high near-surface temperature gradients, along with a suitable "plumbing system" that can provide the necessary permeability. Geothermal power plants can sometimes be built where temperature and flow rates are high. This line shapefile is an attempt to use desktop GIS to delineate possible faults and fracture orientations and locations in highly prospective areas prior to an initial site visit. Geochemical sampling and geologic mapping could then be centered around these possible faults and fractures. To do this, georeferenced topographic maps and aerial photographs were utilized in an existing GIS, using ESRI ArcMap 10.0 software. The USA_Topo_Maps and World_Imagery map layers were chosen from the GIS Server at server.arcgisonline.com, using a UTM Zone 13 NAD27 projection. This line shapefile was then constructed over that which appeared to be through-going structural lineaments in both the aerial photographs and topographic layers, taking care to avoid manmade features such as roads, fence lines, and utility right-of-ways. Still, it is unknown what actual features these lineaments, if they exist, represent. Although the shapefiles are arranged by county, not all areas within any county have been examined for lineaments. Work was focused on either satellite thermal infrared anomalies, known hot springs or wells, or other evidence of geothermal systems. Finally, lineaments may be displaced somewhat from their actual location, due to such factors as shadow effects with low sun angles in the aerial photographs. Credits: These lineament shapefile was created by Geothermal Development Associates, as part of a geothermal geologic reconnaissance performed by Flint Geothermal, LLC, of Denver Colorado. Use Limitation: These shapefiles were constructed as an aid to geothermal exploration in preparation for a site visit for field checking. We make no claims as to the existence of the lineaments, their location, orientation, and/or nature. « less
  4. Slip and dilation tendency on the Great Basin fault surfaces (from the USGS Quaternary Fault Database) were calculated using 3DStress (software produced by Southwest Research Institute). Slip and dilation tendency are both unitless ratios of the resolved stresses applied to the fault plane by themore » measured ambient stress field. - 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 Great Basin. As dip is unknown for many faults in the USGS Quaternary Fault Database, we made these calculations using the dip for each fault that would yield the maximum slip or dilation tendency. As such, these results should be viewed as maximum slip and dilation tendency. - 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 were calculated across the entire Great Basin. 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). The minimum horizontal stress direction (Shmin) was contoured, and spatial bins with common Shmin directions were calculated. Based on this technique, we subdivided the Great Basin into nine regions (Shmin <070, 070140). Slip and dilation tendency were calculated using 3DStress for the faults within each region using the mean Shmin for the region. Shmin variation throughout Great Basin are shown on Figure 3. For faults within the Great Basin proper, we applied 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). 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. These values are consistent with stress magnitude data at both Dixie Valley (Hickman et al., 2000) and Yucca Mountain (Stock et al., 1985). For faults within the Walker Lane/Eastern California Shear Zone, we applied a strike‐slip faulting stress, where shmax > sv > shmin. Upon visual inspection of limited stress magnitude data from the Walker Lane and Eastern California Shear zone, we chose values such that SHmin/SHmax = .46 and Shmin/Sv= .527 representative of the region. Results: The results of our slip and dilation tendency analysis are shown in Figures 4 (dilation tendency), 5 (slip tendency) and 6 (slip tendency + dilation tendency). Shmin varies from northwest to east‐west trending throughout much of the Great Basin. As such, north‐ to northeast‐striking faults have the highest tendency to slip and to dilate, depending on the local trend of shmin. These results provide a first order filter on faults and fault systems in the Great Basin, affording focusing of local‐scale exploration efforts for blind or hidden geothermal resources. « less
  5. 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