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Canadian Geothermal Research Program1

J. G. Souther
J. G. Souther
Geological Survey of Canada, Vancouver, Canada.
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January 01, 1981


A systematic program of geothermal resource assessment was begun in Canada in 1972. The initial program, designed to assemble an inventory of thermal springs, has grown into a many-faceted, interdisciplinary research program with participation by both federal and provincial governments as well as universities and private industry. The emphasis is on three principal regimes: (1) the sedimentary basins of the plains, (2) low-temperature hydraulic systems, and (3) Holocene igneous complexes.

The sedimentary basin studies have, so far, been based on existing oil-well records which indicate widespread aquifers containing large volumes of warm saline brine (up to 150°C) in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The first attempt to utilize this resource is planned for 1979 in Regina where warm water from the Winnipeg Sandstone will be tapped at a depth of 2 km and tested for use in heating a new sports coliseum.

Low-temperature (30 to 60°) artesian-spring systems in central and northern British Columbia and southern Yukon are being investigated as possible sources of space or industrial-process heat, or for possible applications in forestry, fisheries, or agriculture. Several northern communities are already using natural thermal waters to protect water and sewage systems from frost damage.

The search for high-temperature reservoirs with power-generating potential has centered on acidic Holocene igneous complexes, all of which lie along linear belts of volcanos in western British Columbia and Yukon. A program of isotopic dating combined with detailed geologic mapping has identified several dacitic to rhyolitic volcanic complexes that have been active within the last 3 m. y. One of these, Meager Mountain near Vancouver, has been the focus of recent resistivity, magnetotelluric, seismic, and self-potential surveys. Springs at the base of the volcano issue sodium chloride water at 60°, and artesian flows of similar water have entered most boreholes drilled near the mountain. Geothermal gradients of about 50°C/km were found on test holes up to 2 mi from Meager Mountain.

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AAPG Studies in Geology

Energy Resources of the Pacific Region

Michel T. Halbouty
Michel T. Halbouty
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 1981




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