Snake River Plain Play Fairway Analysis - Phase 1 Report

John Shervais, Jonathan Glen, Lee Liberty, Patrick Dobson, Erika Gasperikova, Eric Sonnenthal, Dennis Nielson, Sabodh Garg, James Evans, Drew Siler, Jacob DeAngelo, Noah Athens, Erick Burns

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

    7 Scopus Citations


    The Snake River volcanic province (SRP) overlies a thermal anomaly that extends deep into the mantle; it represents one of the highest heat flow provinces in North America. Our goals for this Phase 1 study are to: (1) adapt the methodology of Play Fairway Analysis for geothermal exploration to create a formal basis for its application to geothermal systems, (2) assemble relevant data for the SRP from publicly available and private sources, and (3) build a geothermal play fairway model for the SRP and identify the most promising plays, using software tools that are standard in the petroleum industry. The success of play fairway analysis in geothermal exploration depends critically on defining a systematic methodology that is grounded in theory (as developed within the petroleum industry over the last two decades) and within the geologic and hydrologic framework of real geothermal systems. Our preliminary assessment of the data suggests that important undiscovered geothermal resources may be located in several areas of the SRP, including the western SRP (associated with buried lineaments defined by gravity or magnetic anomalies, and capped by extensive deposits of lacustrine sediment), at lineament intersections in the central SRP (along the Banbury-Hagerman trend NW of Twin Falls, and along the northern margin of the Mt Bennett Hills-Camas Prairie area), and along the margins of the eastern SRP. Additional high temperature resources are likely associated with rhyolite domes and crypto-domes in the eastern SRP, but are masked by shallow groundwater flow leading to low upper crustal heat flow values. These blind resources may be exploitable with existing deep drilling technology. Groundwater modeling planned for later phases of the PFA project will address whether temperatures at viable producing depths are sufficient to support electricity production.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages9
    StatePublished - 2015
    EventGeothermal Resources Council 2015 Annual Meeting - Reno, Nevada
    Duration: 20 Sep 201523 Sep 2015


    ConferenceGeothermal Resources Council 2015 Annual Meeting
    CityReno, Nevada

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/CP-6A10-66436


    • geothermal exploration
    • GIS
    • Idaho
    • Play Fairway Analysis
    • Snake River Plain


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