Surface Geochemistry At Roosevelt Springs Kgra, Utah

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Journal Article: Surface Geochemistry At Roosevelt Springs Kgra, Utah

As part of a research program conducted on behalf of the Department of Energy, available data on the Roosevelt Springs KGRA were synthesized to determine the spatial arrangement of the rocks, and the patterns of mass and energy flow within them. The resulting model led to a new interpretation of the geothermal system, and provided "ground truth" for evaluating the application of soil geochemistry to exploration for concealed geothermal fields. Preliminary geochemical studies comparing the surface micro-layer to conventional soil sampling methods indicated both practical and chemical advantages for the surface micro-layer technique. The elements arsenic, antimony and cesium in the surface microlayer samples in particular, gave a strong expression of one of the principal faults in the geothermal field. In contrast the analysis of soil samples from only 20 cm below the surface gave little or no expression of the geothermal field. As a consequence, the surface micro-layer was the chosen sampling medium for the second field program, which entailed the collection of a total of some 300 samples on both a regional and detailed pattern covering about 250 km2. These samples were subsequently analyzed by a variety of methods yielding data on 41 elements and ions. Computer contouring revealed that, on a single-element basis, cesium, antimony and arsenic provided the best expression of the KGRA, and indicated other interesting areas of geothermal leakage. Elements such as beryllium and lithium, which are present in highly anomalous concentrations in the opaline sinter deposited by geothermal leakage, do not have an expression in the overlying soils or the surface micro-layer. Computer manipulation of the multi-element data using R-mode factor analysis provided the optimum method of interpretation of the surface micro-layer data. A single factor in which the principal contributors were arsenic, antimony and cesium provided the best indication of the leakage of geothermal solutions within the KGRA. Anomalies in the Escalante Desert to the west of the geothermal field are associated with the trace of a fault zone, and may, therefore, be an activity. Trend surface analysis of the soil mercury data has indicated a regional high in this element in the Mineral Mountains to the east of the KGRA, which may indicate the position of a dry heat source at depth. These data demonstrate that surface micro-layer sampling on a regional scale can serve as a prospecting tool for geothermal resource areas. However, it is possible that the optimum pathfinder elements may vary with the nature of heat source, the geochemistry of the local rocks and the local surficial environment. It is therefore recommended that a multi-element approach should be adopted, with subsequent computer processing of the data.

J. S. Lovell, W. T. Meyer and D. Atkinson

Published Journal 
Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 1983



J. S. Lovell,W. T. Meyer,D. Atkinson. 1983. Surface Geochemistry At Roosevelt Springs Kgra, Utah. Journal of Geochemical Exploration. (!) .