Helmholtz-Zentrum Deutsches Geoforschungszentrum

Geothermal resource assessment and environmental management for NAS Fallon and Hawthorne (Nevada/USA)

This project aims a preliminary structural and 3D modeling study of the Hawthorne and west Fallon (BR16) areas in order to determine the relationships between the structural framework and potential geothermal fields. The main goals will be to better characterize structural controls on fluid flow and determine favorable targets for geothermal development. Phase I of this project will involve 1) detailed geologic reconnaissance of both areas; 2) initial structural analysis of related fault zones; and 3) preliminary geomechanical 3D modeling incorporating available subsurface and surface geologic and geophysical data. Standard rock mechanical analysis followed by advanced 3D structural modeling will define local variations in stress and strain in fault systems thereby delineating favorable areas for dilation and fluid flow. Potential geothermal fields will be defined through collective interpretation of geological, geophysical, and geochemical data compiled and visualized through integrated 3D numerical models.
GFZ will conduct the modeling based analysis by extrapolating the gained knowledge from surface geology to subsurface structures with focus on stress-strain conditions along faults and related preferential fluid pathways at depth. The modeling procedures will involve: 1) integration of available geologic and geophysical data (e.g., 3D seismic and gravity at Hawthorne, field-based geological maps) into a preliminary 3D structural geological model; 2) slip and dilation tendency analysis incorporating different failure modes under the conditions of mechanical stratigraphy within the current stress field; and 3) adoption of slip/dilation tendency results to the 3D fault model including validation by field-based data.

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