First results of geothermal investigations, Chesapeake Bay impact structure, Eyreville core holes
Published:January 01, 2009
Philipp Heidinger, Helmut Wilhelm, Yuri Popov, Jan Šafanda, Hans Burkhardt, Sibylle Mayr, 2009. "First results of geothermal investigations, Chesapeake Bay impact structure, Eyreville core holes", The ICDP-USGS Deep Drilling Project in the Chesapeake Bay impact structure: Results from the Eyreville Core Holes, Gregory S. Gohn, Christian Koeberl, Kenneth G. Miller, Wolf Uwe Reimold
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The Chesapeake Bay impact structure is a late Eocene complex crater that was excavated ~35 Ma ago in a continental shelf environment at the Atlantic margin, in Virginia. It is the largest impact structure in the United States and the seventh largest on Earth. It has an average diameter of ~85 km and is centered near Cape Charles. The scientific well Eyreville B drilled within the framework of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) penetrated the deep crater moat ~9 km from the center of the structure. Core holes drilled in impact structures are especially suited for investigations of the influence of lithological heterogeneities on petrophysical properties and the thermal field. In the Eyreville B core hole, two high-resolution temperature-logging campaigns and a petrophysical profile measured on core samples spaced at ~10 m intervals were recorded. The temperature values of the first campaign in December 2005 were heavily disturbed by outflow of artesian water and could only be used for an estimation of the depth where the fluid originated. For the second campaign in May 2006, a riser was constructed to enable measurements in standing (equilibrated) fluid of the well without opening the well head. This construction yielded a measurement of the undisturbed temperature profile as well as recognition of thermal relaxation after some outflow of artesian water, which heated the surrounding rock. The data allowed determination of (1) the origin of the artesian water, (2) equilibrium temperatures derived from the relaxation process, (3) microclimatic effects at the nearby test well STP2, (4) lateral heterogeneities in the core holes STP2 and Eyreville B, and (5) a profile of vertical heat-flow density in the Eyreville B core. From the calculated vertical component of the thermal gradient and the thermal conductivity measured on core samples, a mean heat-flow density of 65 ± 6 mW/m2 in the 440–1100 m depth interval was determined. These data and results are now available for application in numerical models of the local and regional geologic, hydrologic, and geothermal regimes.