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Abstract

Exploration of this geothermal field was begun formally, though intermittently, in 1958; the first exploratory well was drilled in 1959, and official production of the first megawatts began in 1973. The commercial development of Cerro Prieto geothermics began with practically no previous experience. This explains the relatively long period between initial exploration, drilling, and power generation as compared with the development of similar fields in other countries and in Mexico itself.

Since 1958, but especially from the mid-sixties to the present, many studies have dealt with the Cerro Prieto geothermal field and its surroundings. The fact that more than 200 papers have been published in Mexico alone precludes even listing them here; foreign publications are at least as numerous, and unpublished reports of the Federal Commission on Electricity easily duplicate that amount as well.

Research on the Cerro Prieto field covers virtually all geoscientific disciplines: regional and local geology, structural and tectonic geology, regional and local geohydrology, subsurface geology, sedimentology, volcanology, fission-track dating, hydrothermal alteration, mineralogy, geological modeling, remote sensing, ground compaction and subsidence, determination of petrophysical properties, etc. Geophysical investigations cover resistivity, geophysical well-logging, gravity, reflection and refraction seismology, ground and aerial magnetometry, spontaneous potential, magnetotelluric analysis, microseismics, and precision gravimetry. Geochemical studies utilize geochemistry of surface shows, analysis of well fluids, geochemistry of gases, geothermometry, use of tracers, determination of radon in geothermal fluids, isotopic chemistry in fluids and minerals, and geochemical modeling. Drilling engineering covers types of pipes, cements and high-temperature drilling muds, well-completion techniques, and high

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