Self-potential (SP) anomalies are generated by flows of fluid, heat, and ions in the earth. SP investigations have been used to locate and delineate sources associated with such flows in three areas of geothermal interest in Greece—Lesvos Island, Loutra Hypatis (central Greece), and Nisyros Island. A combination of geophysical methods, with SP being the primary method, has been applied in these areas.
The SP method is adversely influenced by various sources of noise. Field procedures have been suggested to minimize their effects by monitoring electrode polarization and telluric activity. The interpretation of SP contour maps is preferred to using profile data. A procedure was adopted for SP interpretation, and the results were satisfactory. However, this model is based on thermoelectric sources only and is not related directly to hot fluid movement.
In all three survey areas, the geothermal zones delimited by the SP interpretation in combination with data acquired by other geophysical methods result in an integrated interpretation of the geothermal system. Since SP and very-low-frequency (VLF) anomalies can be generated by the same geological source (i.e., geothermal, highly conductive zone), the corresponding results are compared to provide a strong indication of the presence of geothermal zones. The activity of geothermal zones affects the conductivity of the surrounding medium, which also can be detected by dc resistivity and audio-magnetotelluric (AMT) methods. In addition, geothermal zones can be related to various interfaces or tectonic features that can be detected by gravity or seismic methods.