The Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy (GBCGE) was informally organized within the Mackay School of Mines at the University of Nevada, Reno in May 2000. The formation of the GBCGE was in response to new congressional initiatives for accelerated development of renewable energy sources in the western US. Funding has primarily been provided by the US Department of Energy, and supports research into many aspects of geothermal exploration and development, as well as education. Dr. Bridget Ayling is currently the Director of the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy.

Many of our research and exploration projects have been published at the annual meeting of the Geothermal Resources Council. For publications view the GRC library or contact faculty and staff directly.

Collecting fumarole gasses
Chris Sladek and students collecting fumarole gasses for analysis. Gas content has been linked to magma sources and geothermal energy potential.


The Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy to become internationally recognized as center of excellence in promoting the development of geothermal energy as an economically viable and clean energy source.


The mission of the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy is to work in partnership with U.S. industry to establish geothermal energy as a sustainable, environmentally sound, economically competitive contributor to energy supply in the western United States by:

  • Providing needed and timely information on geothermal resources,
  • Identifying key policy, regulatory, economic, social/cultural and environmental issues,
  • Identifying and evaluating new and emerging technologies for geothermal energy production, storage, transmission and use,
  • Fostering new scientific and technological developments,
  • Facilitating outreach, training and communication between geothermal energy stakeholders.



  • Develop and refine techniques to identify and evaluate geothermal systems
  • Validate new methods of exploration and reservoir characterization
  • Develop models for different types of geothermal systems
  • Understand favorable structural settings for geothermal systems
  • Numerical modeling, fracture and uncertainty analysis
  • Reservoir fluid and heat flow modeling
  • Explore new materials to improve heat exchanger wear resistance and conductivity
  • Expand plant operations profile through new methods of evaporation-condensation
  • Create nanomaterials and coatings that improve corrosion resistance for next generation geothermal pipelines


  • Train MS and PhD students in geosciences and engineering fields relevant to the geothermal industry
  • Lead the National Geothermal Academy summer program
  • Collaborate with community colleges on technician/operator training programs
  • Engage undergraduates and graduates in industry-sponsored internships
  • Provide data and information on geothermal resources within the state


  • Detailed analysis and assessment of regional resources
  • Geologic and structural mapping
  • Spectroscopy to identify mineralogy in the field, hand samples, and drill core
  • Remote sensing to map geothermal indicator minerals
  • Fault identification using low sun-angle photography and LiDAR data
  • 2 m temperature surveys
  • Trenching across seismically active faults
  • Gravity data collection and analysis
  • 2D/3D seismic surveys
  • Geodetic analysis of crustal strain
  • Geochemical analysis of soil gases
  • Geochemical and isotopic analysis of spring and well fluids for geothermometry and ground water linkage
  • Real-time seismic monitoring of active reservoirs
  • Micro-earthquake assessment of induced seismic hazards
  • GIS compilation of data
  • 3D modeling of geothermal systems
  • Ground displacement monitoring using InSAR data
  • Drill core analysis