Field Mapping At Salt Wells Area (Coolbaugh, Et Al., 2004)

From Open Energy Information

Exploration Activity: Field Mapping At Salt Wells Area (Coolbaugh, Et Al., 2004)

Exploration Activity Details
Location Salt Wells Area
Exploration Technique Field Mapping
Activity Date 2004
Usefulness useful
DOE-funding Unknown

Exploration Basis
Coolbaugh et al. conducted a study at Salt Wells in 2004 to evaluate the application of inexpensive hand-held digital GPS devices for the rapid mapping of structures and geothermal surface features in the field.
A Hewlett-Packard iPAQ model 5550 pocket PC (purchased with extra battery packs, chargers, memory cards, and GPS unit for a total cost of US $1300) equipped with ArcPad, a GIS-functional software package capable of capturing and exporting spatial data to ArcView and ArcGIS, was used to map controlling structures and geothermal surface features at Salt Wells. Details regarding the complete hardware specifications of the device are included in the body of the article. A custom geologic mapping software applet developed by Gary Edmondo (MiniGIS, Inc., Reno, NV) modified by the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy to include symbols for geothermal surface features was used to actively build the GIS database in the field in real time. Numerous modern and relict geothermal surface features were mapped, including a few small areas of warm ground; silicified rocks; sinter deposits consisting of either massive opaline sinter, siliceous oolites, or silicified roots/mud/algal matter; silcrete; CaCO3-cemented sands; tufa deposits; and opal/chalcedony veins. In some locations, textural indicators of the growth direction of silicified filiform algal mats are thought to indicate the flow direction of inactive hot springs, similar to what is seen in modern hot springs in the Great Basin region. Opal veins typically showed north to northeast strikes. Most of the mapped silicification occurs along the southwest margin of the Salt Wells basin in a broad northwest-trending zone, the northern and southern ends of which are associated with north to northeast-trending structures. These results suggest that relict geothermal activity at Salt Wells may have been controlled by stepover faults or cross faults between two sub-parallel NNE-striking fault zones. Overall, the geothermal surface features and associated structures at Salt Wells were mapped over several square kilometers in only a few days, and were captured in greater detail and with a higher level of accuracy compared to what was accomplished in previous mapping efforts.


Additional References