3D Magnetotelluic characterization of the Coso GeothermalField

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Electrical resistivity may contribute to progress inunderstanding geothermal systems by imaging the geometry, bounds andcontrolling structures in existing production, and thereby perhapssuggesting new areas for field expansion. To these ends, a dense grid ofmagnetotelluric (MT) stations plus a single line of contiguous bipolearray profiling has been acquired over the east flank of the Cosogeothermal system. Acquiring good quality MT data in producing geothermalsystems is a challenge due to production related electromagnetic (EM)noise and, in the case of Coso, due to proximity of a regional DCintertie power transmission line. To achieve good results, a remotereference completely outside the influence of the ... continued below

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Newman, Gregory A.; Hoversten, G. Michael; Wannamaker, Philip E. & Gasperikova, Erika April 23, 2007.

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Electrical resistivity may contribute to progress inunderstanding geothermal systems by imaging the geometry, bounds andcontrolling structures in existing production, and thereby perhapssuggesting new areas for field expansion. To these ends, a dense grid ofmagnetotelluric (MT) stations plus a single line of contiguous bipolearray profiling has been acquired over the east flank of the Cosogeothermal system. Acquiring good quality MT data in producing geothermalsystems is a challenge due to production related electromagnetic (EM)noise and, in the case of Coso, due to proximity of a regional DCintertie power transmission line. To achieve good results, a remotereference completely outside the influence of the dominant source of EMnoise must be established. Experimental results so far indicate thatemplacing a reference site in Amargosa Valley, NV, 65 miles from the DCintertie, isstill insufficient for noise cancellation much of the time.Even though the DC line EM fields are planar at this distance, theyremain coherent with the nonplanar fields in the Coso area hence remotereferencing produces incorrect responses. We have successfully unwrappedand applied MT times series from the permanent observatory at Parkfield,CA, and these appear adequate to suppress the interference of thecultural EM noise. The efficacy of this observatory is confirmed bycomparison to stations taken using an ultra-distant reference site eastof Socorro, NM. Operation of the latter reference was successful by usingfast ftp internet communication between Coso Junction and the New MexicoInstitute of Mining and Technology, using the University of Utah site asintermediary, and allowed referencing within a few hours of datadownloading at Coso. A grid of 102 MT stations was acquired over the Cosogeothermal area in 2003 and an additional 23 stations were acquired toaugment coverage in the southern flank of the first survey area in 2005.These data have been inverted to a fully three-dimensional conductivitymodel. Initial analysis of the Coso MT data was carried out using 2D MTimaging. An initial 3D conductivity model was constructed from a seriesof 2D resistivity images obtained using the inline electric fieldmeasurements (Zyx impedance elements) along several measurementtransects. This model was then refined through a 3D inversion process.This model shows the controlling geological structures possiblyinfluencing well production at Coso and correlations with mapped surfacefeatures such as faults and regional geoelectric strike. The 3D modelalso illustrates the refinement in positioning of conductivity contactswhen compared to isolated 2D inversion transects. The conductivity modelhas also been correlated with microearthquake locations, well fluidproduction intervals and most importantly with an acoustic and shearvelocity model derived by Wu and Lees (1999). This later correlationshows the near-vertical high conductivity structure on the eastern flankof the producing field is also a zone of increased acoustic velocity andincreased Vp/Vs ratio bounded by mapped fault traces. South of theDevil's Kitchen is an area of high geothermal well density, where highlyconductive near surface material is interpreted as a clay cap alterationzone manifested from the subsurface geothermal fluids and relatedgeochemistry. Beneath the clay cap, however, the conductivity isnondescript, whereas the Vp/Vs ratio is enhanced over the productionintervals. It is recommended that more MT data sites be acquired to thesouthwest of the Devil's Kitchen area to better refine the conductivitymodel in that area.

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  • Journal Name: Geothermics; Journal Volume: 0; Journal Issue: 0; Related Information: Journal Publication Date: 02/06/2008

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  • Report No.: LBNL--58328-JArt
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 932467
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc896374

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  • April 23, 2007

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Sept. 29, 2016, 1:34 p.m.

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Newman, Gregory A.; Hoversten, G. Michael; Wannamaker, Philip E. & Gasperikova, Erika. 3D Magnetotelluic characterization of the Coso GeothermalField, article, April 23, 2007; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc896374/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.