Detailed study of core samples of silicic tuff recovered from three geothermal wells along the strike-slip Great Sumatran fault zone near Silangkitang, North Sumatra, supports a model for enhanced hydrothermal circulation adjacent to this major plate-boundary fault. Two wells (A and C) were drilled nearly vertically ∼1 km southwest of the eastern (i.e., the principal) fault trace, and the third, directional well (B) was drilled eastward from the site of well A to within ∼100 m of the principal fault trace. The examined core samples come from depths of 1650–2120 m at measured well temperatures of 180–320 °C. The samples collected near the principal fault trace have the highest temperatures, the largest amount of secondary pore space that correlates with high secondary permeability, and the most extensive hydrothermal mineral development. Secondary permeability and the degree of hydrothermal alteration decrease toward the southwestern margin of the fault zone. These features indicate episodic, localized flow of hot, possibly CO2-rich fluids within the fault zone. The microstructure populations identified in the core samples correlate to the subsidiary fault patterns typical of strike-slip faults. The geothermal reservoir appears to be centered on the fault zone, with the principal fault strands and adjoining, highly fractured and hydrothermally altered rock serving as the main conduits for vertical fluid flow and advective heat transport from deeper magmatic sources.

You do not currently have access to this article.