Exploration of the Upper Hot Creek Ranch Geothermal Resource, Nye County, Nevada

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The Upper Hot Creek Ranch (UHCR) geothermal system had seen no significant exploration activity prior to initiation of this GRED III project. Geochemical geothermometers calculated from previously available but questionable quality analyses of the UHCR hot spring waters indicated possible subsurface temperatures of +320 oF. A complex Quaternary and Holocene faulting pattern associated with a six mile step over of the Hot Creek Range near the UHCR also indicated that this area was worthy of some exploration activity. Permitting activities began in Dec. 2004 for the temperature-gradient holes but took much longer than expected with all drilling permits finally being ... continued below

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Benoit, Dick & Blackwell, David January 1, 2006.

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The Upper Hot Creek Ranch (UHCR) geothermal system had seen no significant exploration activity prior to initiation of this GRED III project. Geochemical geothermometers calculated from previously available but questionable quality analyses of the UHCR hot spring waters indicated possible subsurface temperatures of +320 oF. A complex Quaternary and Holocene faulting pattern associated with a six mile step over of the Hot Creek Range near the UHCR also indicated that this area was worthy of some exploration activity. Permitting activities began in Dec. 2004 for the temperature-gradient holes but took much longer than expected with all drilling permits finally being received in early August 2005. The drilling and geochemical sampling occurred in August 2005. Ten temperature gradient holes up to 500’ deep were initially planned but higher than anticipated drilling and permitting costs within a fixed budget reduced the number of holes to five. Four of the five holes drilled to depths of 300 to 400’ encountered temperatures close to the expected regional thermal background conditions. These four holes failed to find any evidence of a large thermal anomaly surrounding the UHCR hot springs. The fifth hole, located within a narrow part of Hot Creek Canyon, encountered a maximum temperature of 81 oF at a depth of 105’ but had cooler temperatures at greater depth. Temperature data from this hole can not be extrapolated to greater depths. Any thermal anomaly associated with the UHCR geothermal system is apparently confined to the immediate vicinity of Hot Creek Canyon where challenges such as topography, a wilderness study area, and wetlands issues will make further exploration time consuming and costly. Ten water samples were collected for chemical analysis and interpretation. Analyses of three samples of the UHCR thermal give predicted subsurface temperatures ranging from 317 to 334 oF from the Na-K-Ca, silica (quartz), and Na-Li geothermometers. The fact that all three thermometers closely agree gives the predictions added credibility. Unfortunately, the final result of this exploration is that a moderate temperature geothermal resource has been clearly identified but it appears to be restricted to a relatively small area that would be difficult to develop.

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  • Report No.: DOE/GO/14345
  • Grant Number: FC36-04GO14345
  • DOI: 10.2172/888905 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 888905
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc875769

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  • January 1, 2006

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  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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Benoit, Dick & Blackwell, David. Exploration of the Upper Hot Creek Ranch Geothermal Resource, Nye County, Nevada, report, January 1, 2006; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc875769/: accessed September 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.