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A new approach for simulating heat transfer and groundwater flow in the Leach Hot Springs hydrothermal system, Pershing County, Nevada
AuthorPottorff, Edward J
AdvisorCampana, Michael E.
Geological Sciences and Engineering
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The average spring discharge temperature at Leach Hot Springs in southern Grass Valley, Nevada is 76.8° C. Geothermal reservoir temperatures, estimated from silica and Na-K-Ca geothermometers, range from 155 ° to 176 ° C. Heat transfer and groundwater flow within the Leach system are analyzed numerically with a Discrete State Compartment model using subsurface temperature as a tracer. Average discharge and reservoir temperatures are reproduced by a conceptual model of fluid circulation to a 5 km depth along a fault plane; the mean fluid residence time is 3070 years. These temperatures are simulated for conceptual models of horizontal groundwater flow toward the fault plane at a 4 km depth of circulation; the mean fluid residence time approaches 17,200 years. A model sensitivity analysis reveals that system discharge temperature is influenced most by changes in basal heat flux while the mean age of the discharging fluid is most sensitive to changes in the recharge mass heat capacities.
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