Detailed Geologic Mapping & Analysis

Geologic mapping is primarily done by GBCGE affiliates at the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering.

Observation-based field data are used to produce maps, along with aerial photography and LiDAR data. 3D models are produced for select geothermal prospects. GBCGE affiliates also excavate trenches across faults to determine age of faulting.

collecting geologic data
Sabina Kraushaar and Lyndsay Hazelwood collect geologic data near the Black Rock Desert.

Two Meter Temperature Surveys

GBCGE affiliates pioneered the two meter temperature measurement technique. The method involves pounding a steel rod into the ground, inserting a resistant temperature device into the rod, and then measuring the temperature after a short equilibration period. This method has identified thermal anomalies in areas without other surface geothermal indicators.

Remote Sensing

GBCGE affiliates use remote sensing techniques to study geothermal on a range of scales. Spectrometers are used in the field and lab to identify mineralogy based on spectral signatures. Remote sensing data are used to map geothermal indicator minerals over large areas, often identifying new areas of interest. Researchers also use spectroscopy to produce geothermal core logs showing mineralogy.

using portable field spectrometer
Wendy Calvin and Tyler Kent using the ASD portable field spectrometer to collect spectral data from geothermal core.

Fluid and Gas Geochemistry

GBCGE affiliates at the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology collect water and gas samples from geothermal springs and wells. Geochemical data are used to estimate reservoir temperatures and are critical in guiding exploration efforts.

2D/3D Seismic Data Surveys

GBCGE affiliates at the Nevada Seismological Laboratory use seismic data to locate faults and identify structures at geothermal prospects.

Geophysical Data Collection & Analysis

GBCGE affiliates use historical geophysical data, and collect new data in the field. Gravity and magnetics data are processed and used to create maps and models.

using a gravimeter
Paul Schwering uses a gravimeter during geophysics field camp near Pyramid Lake.

Geodetic Analysis of Crustal Strain

GBCGE affiliates at the Nevada Geodetic Laboratory use highly accurate GPS data fromregional networks to study tectonic strain and geothermal activity across the Great Basin.

Reservoir Characterization

GGBCGE affiliates at the Desert Research Institute work to characterize geothermal reservoirs by studying fracture networks and geochemistry of reservoir fluids.