Abstract

A twenty day microearthquake survey of the Ngawha geothermal field, New Zealand, was undertaken in order to establish the level of preproduction seismicity and to test the usefulness of such surveys in geothermal exploration. The Ngawha geothermal field, in the far northwest of the North Island (Northland) is associated with a region of Quaternary basaltic volcanism. It is not a part of the much more extensive Taupo volcanic zone in the central North Island, site of the well-known Wairakei geothermal field, among others. Although surface thermal activity at Ngawha is limited to a few relatively small hot springs, resistivity surveys have outlined a 25-50 sq. km area of hot water at the 1-km depth level (Macdonald et al. 1977). Test bores to that depth have encountered temperatures of up to 250 degrees C within Mesozoic graywacke. Overlying the graywacke is about 500 m of Cenozoic claystone and siltstone which forms an impermeable cap.

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