Multireaction equilibrium geothermometry: A sensitivity analysis using data from the Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, USA


A multireaction chemical equilibria geothermometry (MEG) model applicable to high-temperature geothermal systems has been developed over the past three decades. Given sufficient data, this model provides more constraint on calculated reservoir temperatures than classical chemical geothermometers that are based on either the concentration of silica (SiO2), or the ratios of cation concentrations. A set of 23 chemical analyses from Ojo Caliente Spring and 22 analyses from other thermal features in the Lower Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park are used to examine the sensitivity of calculated reservoir temperatures using the GeoT MEG code (Spycher et al. 2013, 2014) to quantify the effects of solute concentrations, degassing, and mineral assemblages on calculated reservoir temperatures. Results of our analysis demonstrate that the MEG model can resolve reservoir temperatures within approximately ± 15 °C, and that natural variation in fluid compositions represents a greater source of variance in calculated reservoir temperatures than variations caused by analytical uncertainty (assuming ~ 5% for major elements). The analysis also suggests that MEG calculations are particularly sensitive to variations in silica concentration, the concentrations of the redox species Fe(II) and H2S, and that the parameters defining steam separation and CO2 degassing from the liquid may be adequately determined by numerical optimization. Results from this study can provide guidance for future applications of MEG models, and thus provide more reliable information on geothermal energy resources during exploration.

Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 328
Jonathan King
Jonathan King
PhD Candidate in Geoscience

My interests include data assimilation, paleoclimate reconstructions, and teaching data science skills.