Mantle helium and carbon isotopes in Separation Creek Geothermal Springs, Three Sisters area, Central Oregon: Evidence for renewed volcanic activity or a long term steady state system?

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Cold bubbling springs in the Separation Creek area, the locus of current uplift at South Sister volcano show strong mantle signatures in helium and carbon isotopes and CO{sub 2}/{sup 3}He. This suggests the presence of fresh basaltic magma in the volcanic plumbing system. Currently there is no evidence to link this system directly to the uplift, which started in 1998. To the contrary, all geochemical evidence suggests that there is a long-lived geothermal system in the Separation Creek area, which has not significantly changed since the early 1990s. There was no archived helium and carbon data, so a definite conclusion ... continued below

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8 pages

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van Soest, M.C.; Kennedy, B.M.; Evans, W.C. & Mariner, R.H. April 30, 2002.

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Cold bubbling springs in the Separation Creek area, the locus of current uplift at South Sister volcano show strong mantle signatures in helium and carbon isotopes and CO{sub 2}/{sup 3}He. This suggests the presence of fresh basaltic magma in the volcanic plumbing system. Currently there is no evidence to link this system directly to the uplift, which started in 1998. To the contrary, all geochemical evidence suggests that there is a long-lived geothermal system in the Separation Creek area, which has not significantly changed since the early 1990s. There was no archived helium and carbon data, so a definite conclusion regarding the strong mantle signature observed in these tracers cannot yet be drawn. There is a distinct discrepancy between the yearly magma supply required to explain the current uplift (0.006 km{sup 3}/yr) and that required to explain the discharge of CO{sub 2} from the system (0.0005 km{sup 3}/yr). This discrepancy may imply that the chemical signal associated with the increase in magma supply has not reached the surface yet. With respect to this the small changes observed at upper Mesa Creek require further attention, due to the recent volcanic vent in that area it may be the location were the chemical signal related to the uplift can most quickly reach the surface. Occurrence of such strong mantle signals in cold/diffuse geothermal systems suggests that these systems should not be ignored during volcano monitoring or geothermal evaluation studies. Although the surface-expression of these springs in terms of heat is minimal, the chemistry carries important information concerning the size and nature of the underlying high-temperature system and any changes taking place in it.

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8 pages

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OSTI as DE00803778

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  • Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) 2002 Annual Meeting, Reno, NV (US), 09/22/2002--09/25/2002

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  • Report No.: LBNL--50646
  • Grant Number: AC03-76SF00098
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 803778
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc734253

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  • April 30, 2002

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  • Oct. 19, 2015, 7:39 p.m.

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  • April 4, 2016, 5:58 p.m.

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van Soest, M.C.; Kennedy, B.M.; Evans, W.C. & Mariner, R.H. Mantle helium and carbon isotopes in Separation Creek Geothermal Springs, Three Sisters area, Central Oregon: Evidence for renewed volcanic activity or a long term steady state system?, article, April 30, 2002; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc734253/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.