U.S. Department of Energy, Geothermal Program Review VII, Critique of the Geothermal Exploration R&D Program

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Exploration can be described as consisting of two components: finding something worth drilling and testing; and defining and constraining that system after it has been drilled and tested. To date, geothermal exploration in the United States has concentrated on the drilling and testing of rather obvious targets--places where steam and boiling water issue from the ground. Relatively little has been done in the exploration of concealed or blind systems, probably because there have been so many obvious targets. However, these largely have been drilled, tested and constrained by boundaries, and almost entirely are committed to development schemes. The need now ... continued below

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175-176

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Koenig, James B. March 21, 1989.

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Description

Exploration can be described as consisting of two components: finding something worth drilling and testing; and defining and constraining that system after it has been drilled and tested. To date, geothermal exploration in the United States has concentrated on the drilling and testing of rather obvious targets--places where steam and boiling water issue from the ground. Relatively little has been done in the exploration of concealed or blind systems, probably because there have been so many obvious targets. However, these largely have been drilled, tested and constrained by boundaries, and almost entirely are committed to development schemes. The need now is to develop an exploration methodology for the '90s and thereafter that will be effective in the search for blind geothermal systems. Such work is being done currently in Japan; my company was privileged to have served the New Energy Development Organization and the Electric Power Development Company, both Japanese government companies, in the design of a methodology to assess concealed heat sources in 4 different terrains: recent volcanic with abundant thermal manifestations; volcanic outflow; volcanic or non-volcanic with few surface manifestations; and non-volcanic with background-level heat flow. work was based on the application of existing exploration techniques. The Japanese agencies now are attempting to develop new techniques specifically for the task of applying the methodology. Two important observations can be made about this quest for a methodology to explore (and find) concealed geothermal systems: First, most geothermal systems are dominated by ground-water hydrology; and very little is done to systematically investigate or define the effects of hydrology. The Cascade ''rain curtain'' is an example of the importance of hydrologic effects in geothermal exploration. We at GeothermEx first encountered this effect in 1975-76, when we drilled a 2,000-foot-deep hole west of Klamath Lake for Weyerhauser Company. Very little has been done since then to utilize the knowledge of this ''rain curtain'' in exploration in the Cascades or elsewhere.

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175-176

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  • DOE Research and Development for the Geothermal Marketplace, Proceedings of the Geothermal Program Review VII; San Francisco, CA, March 21-23, 1989

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  • Report No.: CONF-890352--29
  • Grant Number: None
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 890528
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc883281

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  • March 21, 1989

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  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Dec. 2, 2016, 4:35 p.m.

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Koenig, James B. U.S. Department of Energy, Geothermal Program Review VII, Critique of the Geothermal Exploration R&D Program, article, March 21, 1989; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc883281/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.