UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Overview of geophysical methods used in geophysical exploration
Lúdvík S. Georgsson
United Nations University Geothermal Training Programme Orkustofnun – Reykjavík – ICELAND

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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

The role of the geophysicist

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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Measuring physical properties of earth
• Geophysical exploration of geothermal resources deals with measurements on the physical properties of the earth. • Emphasis on parameters sensitive to temperature and fluid content of the rocks. • Aim is to delineate a geothermal resources, outline a production field, locate aquifers and site wells or estimate properties of the system. • Ultimately the information is used for economic exploitation of the resource.
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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Parameters
• • • • •

Reservoir Temperature Porosity Permeability Chemical content of fluid (salinity) (Pressure)

• • • • • • • •

Measured Temperature (°C) Electrical resistivity (Ωm) Magnetisation (Vs/m2) Density (kg/m3) Seismic velocity (km/s) Seismic activity Thermal conductivity (W/mK) Streaming potential (V)
Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

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UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Methods
Direct • Thermal methods • Electrical methods • SP Structural / indirect • Magnetics • Gravity • Seismic methods • Seismicity

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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Approach
Combine methods • No method universally applicable • Different for low-temperature and high-temperature • Choose carefully • Usually two or more give most reliable results • Different approach in different countries • Important to be ready to improvise or try new methods Integrated surveys • Geophysical exploration does not stand alone, needs to be integrated with geology and geochemistry? Success of a survey • Success is best measured by time, effort and money the survey has saved.
ORKUSTOFNUN
Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Thermal methods
• Direct measurements
of temperature and heat. No methods correlate better with the properties of the geothermal system.

• Heat exchange
Conduction - atomic vibrations, important for transfer of heat in the earth's crust. Convection - transfers heat with motion of mass, natural circulation of hot water. Radiation - not in geothermal
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UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Thermal conduction – Heat flow – Convection
The simplified geothermal relationship is (conductive heat transfer only): Qcond-z = - k T/ z where k is the thermal conductivity (W/m°C) and T/ z the thermal gradient Anomalous values, above 80-100 mW/m2, may indicate geothermal conditions in the subsurface Thermal conductivity of rocks ranges between 1 and 5 W/m°C Convection Free, driven by density gradients Forced, driven by an external pressure gradient, like hydrostatic head Geothermal systems are of mixed type
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UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Application
Thermal distribution at the surface
• Detailed mapping (GPS) • Soil temperature measurement • Airborne IR survey

Temperature in 20-100 m gradient wells
• Used to delineate regional or local gradient anomalies

Heat flow surveys for regional assessment
• Thermal conductivity measurements, gradient survey with possible terrain corrections

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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Ásgardur – thermal map

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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Hvalfjördur gradient map

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UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Electrical methods
• Most important in geothermal exploration • Electrical current is induced into the earth - signals that are generated are monitored at the surface - many varying methods • DC methods, current injected into earth through electrodes at the surface - the signal measured is the electrical field generated at the surface. • MT, current is induced by the time variations in earth's magnetic field - the signal measured is the electromagnetic field at the surface. • TEM, current induced by a time varying magnetic field from a controlled source - the monitored signal is the decaying magnetic field at surface.
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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Resistivity
Ohm’s law
Ē = j E is electrical field strength (V/m) j is current density (A/m2) is electrical resistivity ( - material constant m) For a unit cube/bar, resistivity is defined as = V / I The reciprocal of resistivity is conductivity Most rocks are resistive, conduction is through water in pores and at water-rock contact.
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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Resistivity of water bearing rocks
Controlled by: • Porosity and pore structure Intergranular – sediments Joints-fissures - tension, cooling - igneous rocks Vugular – dissolved material, gas - volcanics, limestone • Alteration (water-rock interaction) • Salinity of the water • Temperature • Amount of water - saturation - steam content • Pressure Electric conduction is mainly through interconnected water-filled pores.
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UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Resistivity structure summarized
Resistivity Structure summarised OO
ALTERATION RESISTIVITY
Saline water TEMPERATURE

Fresh water
50-100°C

Boiling curve

Pore fluid conduction
Amb. temp

230-250°C

Mineral conduction

250-300°C

Rel. unaltered Smectite- zeolite zone Mixed layer clay zone Chlorite zone Chlorite-epidote zone

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UNU Geothermal Training Programme

DC methods Sounding - Profiling
Sounding - centre fixed, electrode spacing varied used for mapping resistivity changes with depth Profiling - electrode distances fixed, whole array moved in profile line - for mapping lateral changes Many methods - different electrode arrays • Schlumberger sounding, widely used • Dipole sounding or profiling, various arrays • Wenner, not much used today • Head-on profiling, for locating fractures

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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

DC methods – Schlumberger

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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Reykjahverfi Resistivity at 500 m b.s.l.

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UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Öxarfjördur Schlumberger resistivity cross-section

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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Head-on profiling

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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Electromagnetic methods
Natural-source electromagnetics - MT, AMT
Natural EM field used as an energy source. Low frequencies, 0.0001 - 10 Hz are used for deep crustal investigations, higher freq., 10 - 1000 Hz, for the upper crust.

Contro.-source electromag. – TEM, LOTEM, CSMT
In TEM, constant magnetic field is built up by transmitting current I through a big loop (grounded dipole), and then I is abruptly turned off. A secondary field is induced, decaying with time. This decay rate is monitored by measuring the voltage induced in a receiver coil in the centre of the loop. Current distribution and decay rate recorded as a function of time depend on the resistivity structure.
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UNU Geothermal Training Programme

TEM configuration
Transmitted current

Measured voltage

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Hengill TEM resistivity map at 600 m b.s.l.

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Hengill TEM resistivity cross-section

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UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Menengai - MT cross-section
Menengai Crater
MT01 MT60 MT13 MT58 MT57

2000

MT55

MT53

MT59

MT51

m

0

-2000

-4000

-6000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000 16000 18000

184 159 140 122 110 86 71 64 59 53 49 45 41 36 31 27 23 20 18 10 5 1

Elevation (m)

Horizontal distance (m)

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SP
DC-component of earth’s nat. electrical potentials

Significant anomalies associated w. geothermal activity

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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Structural methods
Magnetic methods are widely used in geothermal exploration
often together with gravity and refraction in mapping geological structures - based on varying magnetisation in rocks

Gravity surveys are used in geothermal exploration to detect
geological formations with different densities, are as such a typical structural method

Active seismic methods detect sound velocity distribution and
anomalies in the earth and attenuation

Passive seismic methods detect seismic activity in the earth
ORKUSTOFNUN
Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Magnetic method
• Two kinds of magnetisation
– Induced magnetisation Mi - same direction as the ambient earth's field; – Permanent magnetisation Mp, in igneous rocks it often predominates; it depends upon their properties and history

• Magnetic anomaly is a local disturbance caused by local change in
magnetisation; characterised by the direction and magnitude of the effective magnetisation and the shape, position, properties and history of the anomalous body

• Measurements aim mainly at finding location and depth estimate of hidden
intrusives or tracing buried dykes and faults, or areas of reduced magnetization due to thermal activity • Procedures - On ground, regular measurements in profiles or grid, In aeromagnetic surveys, e.g. 100 m a.g. and with 100 m between lines
ORKUSTOFNUN
Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Ásgardur – Magnetic map

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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Ásgardur - 3D magnetic map

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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Gravity & density Gravity measurements
• Gravity measurements are based on density contrasts of rocks in the earth which lead to different gravitational force – usually measured in mgal or 10-3 m2/s • Gravity usually shown as Bouguer anomaly (after corrections): gB = gM + CFA - CB + CT - gN • Density depends on rock composition & porosity, ~2-3 g/cm3 • Important applications Basement depth variation (sedimentary area) Intrusive rocks (possible heat source) Fault or dyke systems etc. Alteration, cementation due to thermal effects Monitoring mass extraction with production
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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Öxarfjördur – Bouguer gravity map

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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Svartsengi Mean gravity change 1975-1999 in µgal/year

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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

• Elastic waves - different velocity in different rock types • Refracted and reflected at discontinuities in formation • Two types of elastic body waves: P-waves, wave movement in the travel direction S-waves material movement perpendicular to wave direction • Seismic methods use this for info. on the geothermal system • Two types of measurements • Active methods – not used routinely in geothermal – expensive. Info. on density, porosity and texture; fluid-filled zones & temp. Include seismic refraction and seismic reflection • Passive methods - seismic activity. Info. on active faults and permeable zones (shear wave splitting), S-wave shadow can indicate partial melt
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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

Elastic waves – seismic methods

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Öxarfjördur Bouguer gravity & seismic cross-section

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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

[a]
9908000

UNU Geothermal Training Programme
9904000
KM8

KM7 KR2 CE1 KM6 NE3 NE2 KM2

DM2

Grid Northings [m]

WE2 KR6

EP4

DM4 DM3

DM5

9900000

Olkaria – Event distribution

KM5

OS1

DM1

9896000

0
188000 192000 196000 200000

2000

4000M
208000

204000

[b]
0 -1 -2 -3 -4 -5 -6 -7 -8 188000

OWF

OCF

NEF-DOMES

Depth [km]

ORKUSTOFNUN

Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007
192000 196000 200000 204000

0

2000

4000 M

208000

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Reykjanes Peninsula Seismic zone

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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Integrated results Key to understanding - Ásgardur geothermal model based on soil temperature measurements, magnetic mapping and regional survey
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Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Integrated results Key to understanding – Theistareykir aeromagnetic map & resistivity map

ORKUSTOFNUN

Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Selected references
Árnason, K., and Flóvenz, Ó.G., 1992: Evaluation of physical methods in geothermal exploration of rifted volcanic crust. Geoth. Res. Council, Transactions, 16, 207-214. Árnason, K., Karlsdóttir, R., Eysteinsson, H., Flóvenz, Ó.G., and Gudlaugsson, S.Th., 2000: The resistivity structure of high-temperature geothermal systems in Iceland. Proceedings of the World Geothermal Congress 2000, KyushuTohoku, Japan, 923-928. Björnsson, A., and Hersir, G.P., 1991: Geophysical exploration for geothermal resources, principles and applications. UNU G.T.P., Iceland, report 15, 94 pp. Flóvenz, Ó.G., and Saemundsson, K., 1993: Heat flow and geothermal processes in Iceland. Tectonophysics, 225, 123-138. Keary, P., and Brooks, M., 1992: An introduction to geophysical exploration. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, 254 pp.

ORKUSTOFNUN

Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

UNU Geothermal Training Programme

Thank you for the attention

Vellir geyser
ORKUSTOFNUN
Kenya Short Course II - LSG 10.11.2007

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