World Geothermal Congress 2020+1
March - October, 2021

Geothermal Surface Feature Catalogue of New Zealand: Implications for Geothermal Development in New Zealand

Robert REEVES, Bart DAVIDS, Thomas BRAKENRIG, Penny DOORMAN, Freya CAMBURN

[GNS Science, New Zealand]

Geothermal surface features are the surface expression of geothermal systems. Geothermal surface features have many unique and sought-after values. These values include cultural (e.g. bathing, cooking, spiritual), economic (e.g. tourism, heating), landscape, scientific and biodiversity. In New Zealand the presence of surface features is used to help classify geothermal systems for appropriate levels of use or protection. Their values are also assessed by resource managers as development occurs – finding the balance between protecting these values and enabling developments that may have adverse effects on these features. A key question for any developer and resource manager is “How important are these geothermal surface features and what are the effects that these values are most vulnerable to?” Understanding the overall extent, distribution and type of features is therefore fundamental to management. A catalogue of over 5000 geothermal surface features is compiled for New Zealand from published reports and includes both high temperature and low-temperature geothermal features from 35 geothermal fields. The catalogue uses an established method of classifying types of geothermal surface features that enables it to be searched and sorted rapidly. The catalogue includes most known geothermal surface features in New Zealand and is large enough to enable a statistical analysis of geothermal surface features in New Zealand and their physical characteristics such as water temperature and flow rates. This provides an opportunity to compare characteristics of geothermal surface features at a national-scale and used to identify features that could be considered an outstanding example of their type in New Zealand. It also supports resource managers in considering the effects of activities, and an appropriate management response, whether this be protecting features by avoiding adverse effects, or enabling development around other features.

        Topic: Environmental Aspects Paper Number: 02004

         Session 5B: Environmental and Societal Aspects 5 -- Community engagement [Tuesday 13th April 2021, 08:00 am] (UTC-8)
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