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Conference Proceeding

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Play Fairway Analysis methods, utilizing existing geologic, thermal, geochemical, and geophysical data were employed in an initial assessment of geothermal resources in the Snake River Plain. These efforts identified the Camas Prairie in southcentral Idaho as a region with elevated resource potential. Subsequent efforts included structural and geophysical data collection to identify the most favorable structural settings for exploiting resources in the valley. The present work involved high-resolution gravity, magnetic, magnetotellurics (MT), field mapping, and seismic surveys to further characterize the system and target sites for exploration drilling around Barron’s Hot Springs (BHS) in the southwest part of the valley.

Geophysical mapping and modeling reveal that the BHS coincides with a complex intersection of two major fault systems: a prominent NW-trending system that includes the Pothole fault, and EW-trending basin-bounding faults that control NS-extension. This complex zone includes a dense network of EW-oriented faults and a right stepover in the Pothole fault which, given the dominant dextral-normal to normal slip inferred for this fault, would promote extension in the immediate vicinity of the BHS.

Surface faulting in this region indicate Pleistocene or younger slip, and seismic imaging documents offsets of shallow strata that suggest ongoing activity on these structures. MT modeling results show that this zone also coincides with a prominent conductive anomaly, characteristic of the presence of hydrothermal alteration or hydrothermal fluids. These results point to the importance of these structures in maintaining current and long-lived shallow hydrothermal activity around the BHS.

The detailed structural mapping and conceptual framework developed from this study provide critical constraints for siting a drill hole aimed at documenting reservoir characteristics and informing potential future development of these geothermal resources.


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This document was originally published in Geothermal Resources Council Transactions by the Geothermal Resources Council. Copyright restrictions may apply.