Abstract

In the Cerro Prieto geothermal field, carbonate-cemented, quartzofeldspathic sediments of the Colorado River delta are being actively metasomatized into calc-silicate metamorphic rocks by reaction with alkali chloride brines between 200 and 370 °C, at low fluid and lithostatic pressures and low oxygen fugacities. Our petrologic investigations of drill cores and cuttings from more than 50 wells in this field identified a prograde series of zones that include as index minerals wairakite, epidote, prehnite, and clinopyroxene. Associated divariant mineral assemblages are indicative of a very low pressure, low-temperature metamorphic facies series spanning the clay-carbonate, zeolite, greenschist, and amphibolite facies. This hydro-thermal facies series, which is now recognized in other active geothermal systems, is characterized by temperature-telescoped dehydration and decarbonation. Its equivalent can now be sought in fossil hydrothermal systems.

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