Helmholtz-Zentrum Deutsches Geoforschungszentrum

Structural assessment and preliminary 3D modeling of the San Emidio geothermal area, Washoe County, Nevada (USA)

This project aims a detailed structural and preliminary 3D modeling study of the San Emidio area located in the NW part of the Great Basin in the Basin and Range Province in western U.S.. The study will include the characterization of structural controls on fluid flow and the determination of the most favorable targets for drilling new wells in this promising geothermal system. Our findings will also add to a growing database on the structural controls of geothermal activity in the Great Basin.
The field-based studies will establish the detailed structural framework of the San Emidio area and facilitate development of conceptual structural models for the geothermal system. The modeling based analysis will extrapolate the surface geology to subsurface structures with a focus on stress-strain conditions along faults and related preferential fluid pathways at depth. The aim of the modeling study is to integrate all available geo-data into one coherent 3D model allowing for a complex interpretation and discrimination of dilational fault segments. The modeling procedures will involve: 1) integration of available geologic and geophysical data (e.g., seismic and gravity and field-based geologic maps) into a preliminary 3D structural model; 2) slip and dilation tendency analysis incorporating different failure modes under the conditions of mechanical stratigraphy in the current stress field; and 3) adoption of slip/dilation tendency results to the 3D fault model including validation with field-based data.

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