Finding Hidden Geothermal Resources in the Basin and Range Using Electrical Survey Techniques: A Computational Feasibility Study

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For many years, there has been speculation about "hidden" or "blind" geothermal systems—reservoirs that lack an obvious overlying surface fluid outlet. At present, it is simply not known whether "hidden" geothermal reservoirs are rare or common. An approach to identifying promising drilling targets using methods that are cheaper than drilling is needed. These methods should be regarded as reconnaissance tools, whose primary purpose is to locate high-probability targets for subsequent deep confirmation drilling. The purpose of this study was to appraise the feasibility of finding "hidden" geothermal reservoirs in the Basin and Range using electrical survey techniques, and of adequately ... continued below

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Pritchett, J. W. & publication, not used on December 1, 2004.

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For many years, there has been speculation about "hidden" or "blind" geothermal systems—reservoirs that lack an obvious overlying surface fluid outlet. At present, it is simply not known whether "hidden" geothermal reservoirs are rare or common. An approach to identifying promising drilling targets using methods that are cheaper than drilling is needed. These methods should be regarded as reconnaissance tools, whose primary purpose is to locate high-probability targets for subsequent deep confirmation drilling. The purpose of this study was to appraise the feasibility of finding "hidden" geothermal reservoirs in the Basin and Range using electrical survey techniques, and of adequately locating promising targets for deep exploratory drilling based on the survey results. The approach was purely theoretical. A geothermal reservoir simulator was used to carry out a lengthy calculation of the evolution of a synthetic but generic Great Basin-type geothermal reservoir to a quasi-steady "natural state". Postprocessors were used to try to estimate what a suite of geophysical surveys of the prospect would see. Based on these results, the different survey techniques were compared and evaluated in terms of their ability to identify suitable drilling targets. This process was completed for eight different "reservoir models". Of the eight cases considered, four were "hidden" systems, so that the survey techniques could be appraised in terms of their ability to detect and characterize such resources and to distinguish them from more conventionally situated geothermal reservoirs. It is concluded that the best way to find "hidden" basin and range geothermal resources of this general type is to carry out simultaneous SP and low-frequency MT surveys, and then to combine the results of both surveys with other pertinent information using mathematical "inversion" techniques to characterize the subsurface quantitatively. Many such surveys and accompanying analyses can be carried out for the cost of a single unsuccessful deep "discovery well".

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  • Report No.: INEEL/EXT-04-02539
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • DOI: 10.2172/911233 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 911233
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc887295

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • December 1, 2004

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Dec. 15, 2016, 3:02 p.m.

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Pritchett, J. W. & publication, not used on. Finding Hidden Geothermal Resources in the Basin and Range Using Electrical Survey Techniques: A Computational Feasibility Study, report, December 1, 2004; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc887295/: accessed January 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.