Carbon and sulfur isotopes as tracers of fluid-fluid and fluid-rock interaction in geothermal systems

Monday, 15 December 2014: 3:10 PM
Andri Stefansson1, Nicole S Keller1, Johann Gunnarsson Robin1, Rikey Kjartansdottir1, Shuhei Ono2 and Arny Erla Sveinbjörnsdottir1, (1)University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland, (2)MIT, Cambridge, MA, United States
Carbon and sulfur are among major components in geothermal systems. They are found in various oxidation state and present in solid phases and fluids (water and vapor). In order to study the reactions and mass movement within multiphase geothermal systems, we have combined geochemical fluid-fluid and fluid-rock modelling with sulfur and carbon isotope fractionation modelling and compared the results with measured carbon and sulfur isotopes in geothermal fluids (water and vapor) for selected low- and high-enthalpy geothermal systems in Iceland. In this study we have focused on δ34S for H2S in vapor and water and SO4 in water as well as δ13C for CO2 in vapor and water phases. Isotope fractionations for CO2 and H2S between vapor and liquid water, upon aqueous speciation and upon carbonate and sulfide mineral formation were revised. These were combined with reaction modelling involving closed system boiling and progressive water-rock interaction to constrain the mass movement and isotope abundance between various phases. The results indicate that for a closed system, carbon and sulfur isotope abundance is largely dependent on progressive fluid-fluid and fluid-rock interaction and the initial total δ34S and δ13C value of the system. Initially, upon progressive fluid rock interaction the δ34S and δ13C values for the bulk aqueous phase approach that of the host rocks. Secondary mineral formation may alter these values, the exact isotope value of the mineral and resulting aqueous phase depending on aqueous speciation and isotope fractionation factor. In turn, aqueous speciation and mineral saturation depends on progressive fluid-rock interaction, fluid-fluid interaction, temperature and acid supply to the system. Depressurization boiling also results in isotope fractionation, the exact isotope value of the vapor and aqueous phase depending on aqueous speciation and isotope fractionation fractor. In this way, carbon and sulfur isotopes may be used combined with measured values for natural fluids to constrain mass movement upon fluid-fluid and fluid-rock interaction in geothermal systems.