Are there significant hydrothermal resources in the US part of the Cascade Range?

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The Cascade Range is a geothermal dichotomy. On the one hand, it is an active volcanic arc above a subducting plate and is demonstrably an area of high heat flow. On the other hand, the distribution of hydrothermal manifestations compared to other volcanic arcs is sparse, and the hydrothermal outflow calculated from stream chemistry is low. Several large estimates of undiscovered geothermal resources in the U.S. part of the Cascade Range prepared in the 1970s and early 1980s were based fundamentally on two models of the upper crust. One model assumed that large, partly molten, intrusive bodies exist in the ... continued below

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Muffler, L.J. Patrick & Guffanti, Marianne January 26, 1995.

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The Cascade Range is a geothermal dichotomy. On the one hand, it is an active volcanic arc above a subducting plate and is demonstrably an area of high heat flow. On the other hand, the distribution of hydrothermal manifestations compared to other volcanic arcs is sparse, and the hydrothermal outflow calculated from stream chemistry is low. Several large estimates of undiscovered geothermal resources in the U.S. part of the Cascade Range prepared in the 1970s and early 1980s were based fundamentally on two models of the upper crust. One model assumed that large, partly molten, intrusive bodies exist in the upper 10 km beneath major volcanic centers and serve as the thermal engines driving overlying hydrothermal systems. The other model interpreted the coincident heat-flow and gravity gradients west of the Cascade crest in central Oregon to indicate a partly molten heat source at 10 {+-} 2 km depth extending {approx}30 km west from the axis of the range. Investigations of the past ten years have called both models into question. Large long-lived high-temperature hydrothermal systems at depths <3 km in the U.S. part of the Cascade Range appear to be restricted to silicic domefields at the Lassen volcanic center, Medicine Lake volcano, Newberry volcano, and possibly the Three Sisters. Federal land-use restrictions further reduce this list to Medicine Lake and Newberry. Dominantly andesitic stratocones appear to support only small transitory hydrothermal systems related to small intrusive bodies along the volcanic conduits. The only young caldera, at Crater Lake, supports only low- to intermediate-temperature hydrothermal systems. Most of the Cascade Range comprises basaltic andesites and has little likelihood for high-level silicic intrusions and virtually no potential for resultant large high-temperature hydrothermal systems. Undiscovered hydrothermal resources of the Cascade Range of the United States are substantially lower than previous estimates. The range does have potential for intermediate-temperature hot dry rock and localized low- to intermediate-temperature hydrothermal systems.

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  • Proceedings, Twentieth Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, January 24-25, 1995

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  • Report No.: SGP-TR-150-3
  • Grant Number: None
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 889296
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc884674

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  • January 26, 1995

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  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Nov. 22, 2016, 7:45 p.m.

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Muffler, L.J. Patrick & Guffanti, Marianne. Are there significant hydrothermal resources in the US part of the Cascade Range?, article, January 26, 1995; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc884674/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.