Title:

Progress Report on the Nevada Play Fairway Project: Integrated Geological, Geochemical, and Geophysical Analyses of Possible New Geothermal Systems in the Great Basin Region

Authors:

James E. FAULDS, Mark F. COOLBAUGH, Nicholas H. HINZ, Andrew SADOWSKI, Lisa A. SHEVENELL, Emma MCCONVILLE, Jason CRAIG, Drew L. SILER

Key Words:

geothermal play fairway, Nevada, Great Basin, permeability, blind geothermal system

Conference:

Stanford Geothermal Workshop

Year:

2017

Session:

Geology

Language:

English

Paper Number:

Faulds

File Size:

2457 KB

View File:

Abstract:

The Great Basin region of the western USA is capable of producing much greater amounts of geothermal energy than the current ~670 MW from ~25 power plants. Most geothermal resources in this region are blind, and thus the favorable characteristics for geothermal activity must be synthesized and methodologies need to be developed to discover new commercial-grade systems. In the Nevada play fairway project, nine geologic, geochemical, and geophysical parameters were synthesized to produce a new detailed geothermal potential map of 96,000 km2 from west-central to eastern Nevada. These parameters were grouped into subsets and individually weighted to delineate rankings for local permeability, regional permeability, and heat, which collectively defined geothermal play fairways (i.e., most likely locations for significant geothermal fluid flow). This work is aimed at reducing the risks in geothermal exploration and therefore facilitating discovery of new commercial-grade systems in blind settings, as well as in areas with surface expressions of geothermal activity. Twenty-four highly prospective areas, including both known undeveloped systems and previously undiscovered potential blind systems, were identified across the region for further analysis. Five of the most promising sites have been selected for detailed studies: Granite Springs Valley, Sou Hills, southern Gabbs Valley, Crescent Valley, and Steptoe Valley. Multiple techniques, including detailed geologic mapping, shallow temperature surveys, detailed gravity surveys, LiDAR, geochemical studies, seismic reflection analysis, and 3D modeling, are now being employed in these areas. The ultimate goal of these detailed studies is to determine the most likely areas for high permeability thermal fluids such that potential drill sites can be targeted. Potential new blind systems discovered in this project include southern Gabbs Valley and Granite Springs Valley currently undergoing detailed study, as well as step-overs in the Dun Glen area and along the west flank of the Humboldt Range.


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