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Title: Subsidence due to geothermal fluid withdrawal

Single-phase and two-phase geothermal reservoirs are currently being exploited for power production in Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, the United States, and elsewhere. Vertical ground displacements of up to 4.5 m and horizontal ground displacements of up to 0.5 m have been observed at Wairakei, New Zealand, that are clearly attributable to the resource exploitation. Similarly, vertical displacements of about 0.13 m have been recorded at The Geysers, California. No significant ground displacements that are attributable to large-scale fluid production have been observed at Larderello, Italy, and Cerro Prieto, Mexico. In this paper, observations show that subsidence due to geothermal fluid production is characterized by such features as an offset of the subsidence bowl from the main area of production, time-lag between production and subsidence, and nonlinear stress-strain relationships. Several plausible conceptual models, of varying degrees of sophistication, have been proposed to explain the observed features. At present, relatively more is known about the physical mechanisms that govern subsidence than the relevant thermal mechanisms. Finally, although attempts have been made to simulate observed geothermal subsidence, the modeling efforts have been seriously limited by a lack of relevant field data needed to sufficiently characterize the complex field system.
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  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). Earth Sciences Division; Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0080-2018
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Reviews in Engineering Geology; Journal Volume: 6
Geological Society of America
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Renewable Technology. Division of Hydrothermal and Hydropower Technologies
Country of Publication:
United States