Temperature Uncertainty Modeling with Proxy Structural Data as Geostatistical Constraints for Well Siting: An Example Applied to Granite Springs Valley, NV, USA

Whitney Trainor-Guitton, Drew Siler, Bridget Ayling

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Utilizing existing temperature and structural information around Granite Springs Valley, Nevada, we build 3D stochastic temperature models with the aim of evaluating the 3D uncertainty of temperature and choosing between candidate exploration well locations . The data used to support the modeling are measured temperatures and structural proxies from 3D geologic modeling, the latter considered "secondary" data. Two stochastic geostatistical techniques are explored for incorporating the structural proxies: cosimulation and local varying mean. With both the cosimulation and local varying mean methods, many equally likely temperature models (i.e., realizations) are produced, from which temperature probability profiles are calculated at candidate well locations. To aid in choosing between the candidate locations, two quantities summarize the temperature probabilities: Vprior and entropy. Vprior quantifies the likelihood for economic temperatures at each candidate location, whereas entropy identifies where new information has the most potential to reduce uncertainty. In general, the cosimulation realizations have smoother spatial structure, and extrapolate high temperatures at candidate locations that are located along the direction of the longest spatial correlation, which are down dip from existing temperature logs. The smooth realizations result in tight temperature probability profiles that are easier to interpret, but they have unrealistic temperature reversals in some locations because the cosimulation technique does not enforce a conductive geothermal gradient as a baseline (i.e., linearly increasing temperature with depth). The local varying mean results produce realizations with more realistic geothermal gradients, with temperatures increasing downward since a depth-temperature relationship is included. However, because they have much noisier spatial nature compared to cosimulation, it is harder to interpret the temperature probability profiles. The different local varying mean results allow the geologist to determine which proxy (e.g., dilation versus distance to fault termination) should be used given the specific geothermal system. In general, Vprior from local varying mean results identify locations that are close to high values for the structural proxies: areas with highe r probabilities for higher temperatures. The entropy results identify where uncertainty is greatest and therefore new drilling information could be most useful. Though these techniques provide useful information, even when applied to areas of sparse data, our comp arison of these two techniques demonstrates the need for new geothermal geostatistics techniques that combine the advantages of these two methods and that are tailored to the spatial uncertainty issues inherent in geothermal exploration.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2023
Event48th Stanford Geothermal Workshop - Stanford, California
Duration: 6 Feb 20238 Feb 2023


Conference48th Stanford Geothermal Workshop
CityStanford, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5700-84926


  • 3D temperature modeling
  • drilling decisions
  • entropy
  • geostatistics


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