The Roosevelt Hot Springs hydrothermal system is located at the base of the Mineral Mountains in southwestern Utah on the eastern side of the Basin and Range. Hydrothermal activity is related to relatively recent bimodal magmatism, and the system is hosted in coarsely crystalline rock made of Oligocene–Miocene granitoids and Precambrian gneiss. The hydrothermal plume covers ~5 km2, with a maximum temperature of 268 °C at ~750 m depth, and a vertically extensive fault-fracture mesh east of the Opal Mound fault controls the upflow of hydrothermal fluids. Power generation (currently 38 MWe gross) began in 1984, and up through 2016, four wells were used for fluid production, and three wells were used for edge-field injection. Chemical analyses of produced fluids show that modern reservoir fluid compositions are similar to but more concentrated than those at the start of production, having near-neutral pH, total dissolved solids of 7000–10,000 mg/kg, and ionic ratios of Cl/HCO3 ~50–100, Cl/SO4 ~50–100, and Na/K ~4–5. Chemical geothermometers indicate equilibration temperatures that mainly range between 240° and 300 °C. Early production induced a steep drop in pressure (~3.0–3.5 MPa), which was accompanied by a 250–300 m lowering of piezometric levels in wells and development of a shallow steam zone across the system. Hydrothermal fluid compositions evolved continuously in response to production-related steam-loss and injection breakthrough, which is reflected by gradual increases in chloride of up to 35% and stable isotope ratios of up to ~2‰ δ18O and ~10‰ #x03B4;D. Simple mixing model calculations suggest that there has been a significant amount, ~10–20 MWth, of sustained multi-decadal heat mining and enhanced geothermal system (EGS)–type heat transfer by the injectate as it returns to the production zone. Overall, the two factors that have sustained long-term power production (currently 38 MWe gross) are the increased upflow of deep chloride water and, to a lesser extent, the mining of heat at <1 km depth.
Interpretation of hydrothermal conditions, production-injection induced effects, and evidence for enhanced geothermal system- type heat exchange in response to >30 years of production at Roosevelt Hot Springs, Utah, USA
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Stuart F. Simmons, Rick G. Allis, Stefan M. Kirby, Joseph N. Moore, Tobias P. Fischer; Interpretation of hydrothermal conditions, production-injection induced effects, and evidence for enhanced geothermal system- type heat exchange in response to >30 years of production at Roosevelt Hot Springs, Utah, USA. Geosphere 2021; doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/GES02348.1
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