Analysis of Gaps in Geothermal Exploration Data in the Western United States

Katherine Young, Hidda Thorsteinsson, Daniel Getman

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The USGS Resource Assessment (Williams et al. 2008) outlined a mean 30 GW, of Undiscovered Hydrothermal Resource in the western U.S. One goal of the Geothermal Technology Office (GTO) is to accelerate the development of this undiscovered resource. To help guide its future data collection efforts, GTO funded a data gap analysis in FY2012 to identify high potential hydrothermal areas where critical data are needed. For the gap analysis, information was collected about existing data and data coverage maps were created with this information. Next, these maps were compared with the USGS resource potential maps to identify priority sites for exploration data collection. Though there are many types of data that can be used for hydrothermal exploration, five types of exploration data were targeted for this analysis. These data types were elected for their regional reconnaissance potential, and include many of the primary exploration echniques currently used by the geothermal industry. The data types include: 1) well data; 2) geologic maps; 3) fault maps; 4) geochemistry data; and 5) geophysical data. To determine data coverage, metadata for exploration data (including data type, data status, and coverage information) were collected and catalogued. Many industry, university, laboratory, and agency personnel were contacted in order to collect metadata for this effort. Data and metadata provided by the contributors to the National Geothermal Data System (NGDS) were also incorporated in the gap analysis. An online tool was developed to allow all geothermal data providers to directly add metadata themselves and view the results of the analys is via maps of data coverage in Geothermal Prospector ( A grid of the contiguous U.S. was created with 88,000 10-km by 10-km grid cells, and each cell was populated with the status of data availability corresponding to the five data types. Using these five data coverage maps and the USGS Resource Potential Map, sites were identified for future data collection efforts. These sites signify both that the USGS has indicated high favorability of occurrence of geothermal resources and that data gaps exist.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2013
Event38th Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering - Stanford, California
Duration: 11 Feb 201313 Feb 2013


Conference38th Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering
CityStanford, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-6A20-73436


  • exploration data
  • gap analysis
  • geothermal
  • hydrothermal
  • USGS


Dive into the research topics of 'Analysis of Gaps in Geothermal Exploration Data in the Western United States'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this