3D Model of the Tuscarora Geothermal Area

The Tuscarora geothermal system sits within a ~15 km wide left-step in a major west-dipping range-bounding normal fault system. The step over is defined by the Independence Mountains fault zone and the Bull Runs Mountains fault zone which overlap along strike. Strain is transferred between these major fault segments via and array of northerly striking normal faults with offsets of 10s to 100s of meters and strike lengths of less than 5 km. These faults within the step over are one to two orders of magnitude smaller than the range-bounding fault zones between which they reside. Faults within the broad step define an anticlinal accommodation zone wherein east-dipping faults mainly occupy western half of the accommodation zone and west-dipping faults lie in the eastern half of the accommodation zone. The 3D model of Tuscarora encompasses 70 small-offset normal faults that define the accommodation zone and a portion of the Independence Mountains fault zone, which dips beneath the geothermal field. The geothermal system resides in the axial part of the accommodation, straddling the two fault dip domains. The Tuscarora 3D geologic model consists of 10 stratigraphic units. Unconsolidated Quaternary alluvium has eroded down into bedrock units, the youngest and stratigraphically highest bedrock units are middle Miocene rhyolite and dacite flows regionally correlated with the Jarbidge Rhyolite and modeled with uniform cumulative thickness of ~350 m. Underlying these lava flows are Eocene volcanic rocks of the Big Cottonwood Canyon caldera. These units are modeled as intracaldera deposits, including domes, flows, and thick ash deposits that change in thickness and locally pinch out. The Paleozoic basement of consists metasedimenary and metavolcanic rocks, dominated by argillite, siltstone, limestone, quartzite, and metabasalt of the Schoonover and Snow Canyon Formations. Paleozoic formations are lumped in a single basement unit in the model. Fault blocks in the eastern portion of the model are tilted 5-30 degrees toward the Independence Mountains fault zone. Fault blocks in the western portion of the model are tilted toward steeply east-dipping normal faults. These opposing fault block dips define a shallow extensional anticline. Geothermal production is from 4 closely-spaced wells, that exploit a west-dipping, NNE-striking fault zone near the axial part of the accommodation zone.
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Additional Info

DOE Project Name: Recovery Act: Characterizing Structural Controls of EGS-Candidate and Conventional Geothermal Reservoirs in the Great Basin: Developing Successful Exploration Strategies in Extended Terranes
DOE Project Number: EE0002748
DOE Project Lead: Mark Ziegenbein
DOI: 10.15121/1136723
Last Updated: over a year ago
Data from December, 2013
Submitted Mar 21, 2014

University of Nevada




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geothermal, 3D Model, Tuscarora Geothermal Area, faulting, faults, stratigraphy, stratigraphic units, cross-section, cross section, geology, geologic units, geologic contact, tuscarora


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