Description: A method for determining the background geothermal gradient values through the analysis of temperature measurements at multiple depths to 3 m and recorded over a time span of several days is presented. The analysis is based on the amplitude decay and phase shift of temperature waves with depth. Diurnal and other high frequency temperature variations are used to compute thermal diffusivities which in turn are used to model and remove the effect of the annual temperature wave. The analysis considers both a homogeneous half space and a two layer medium consisting of an overburden of finite thickness overlying a semi-infinite substratum. The method was tested in three holes in the Crystal Hot Springs geothermal field. Temperatures in each hole were recorded once a minute over a period of three days with a probe containing thermistors at eight different depths. Five of the thermistors were positioned at shallow depths (less than or equal to 0.5 m) to monitor diurnal and other high frequency waves and three at greater depths (greater than or equal to 1 m) to measure lower frequency variations. Since measurements were recorded at only three sites, the accuracy and reliability of the method is not fully evaluated. Potential problems to the method resulting from inaccurate model parameters and convective heat transport are investigated.
Date: January 1, 1986
Creator: Howell, Jack & Chapman, David S.
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