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Title: Blind Geothermal System Exploration in Active Volcanic Environments; Multi-phase Geophysical and Geochemical Surveys in Overt and Subtle Volcanic Systems, Hawai’i and Maui

Suites of new geophysical and geochemical exploration surveys were conducted to provide evidence for geothermal resource at the Haleakala Southwest Rift Zone (HSWRZ) on Maui Island, Hawai’i. Ground-based gravity (~400 stations) coupled with heli-bourne magnetics (~1500 line kilometers) define both deep and shallow fractures/faults, while also delineating potentially widespread subsurface hydrothermal alteration on the lower flanks (below approximately 1800 feet a.s.l.). Multi-level, upward continuation calculations and 2-D gravity and magnetic modeling provide information on source depths, but lack of lithologic information leaves ambiguity in the estimates. Additionally, several well-defined gravity lows (possibly vent zones) lie coincident with magnetic highs suggesting the presence of dike intrusions at depth which may represent a potentially young source of heat. Soil CO2 fluxes were measured along transects across geophysically-defined faults and fractures as well as young cinder cones along the HSWRZ. This survey generally did not detect CO2 levels above background, with the exception of a weak anomalous flux signal over one young cinder cone. The general lack of observed CO2 flux signals on the HSWRZ is likely due to a combination of lower magmatic CO2 fluxes and relatively high biogenic surface CO2 fluxes which mix with the magmatic signal. Similar surveys at themore » Puna geothermal field on the Kilauea Lower East Rift Zone (KLERZ) also showed a lack of surface CO2 flux signals, however aqueous geochemistry indicated contribution of magmatic CO2 and He to shallow groundwater here. As magma has been intercepted in geothermal drilling at the Puna field, the lack of measured surface CO2 flux indicative of upflow of magmatic fluids here is likely due to effective “scrubbing” by high groundwater and a mature hydrothermal system. Dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentrations, δ13C compositions and 3He/4He values were sampled at Maui from several shallow groundwater samples indicating only minor additions of magmatic CO2 and He to the groundwater system, although much less than observed near Puna. The much reduced DIC and He abundances at Maui, along with a lack of hotsprings and hydrothermal alteration, as observed near Puna, does not strongly support a deeper hydrothermal system within the HSWRZ.« less
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  1. Ormat Nevada, Inc., Reno, NV (United States)
  2. Corescan Inc., Ascot (Australia)
  3. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Ormat Nevada, Inc., Reno, NV (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Geothermal Technologies Office (EE-4G)
Country of Publication:
United States