Solute fluxes from Tacaná volcano-hydrothermal system, Mexico-Guatemala. Implications for estimation of geothermal potential of the deep aquifer.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Nathalie Collard1, Yuri Taran2, Mariana Patricia Jácome Paz3 and Robin Campion1, (1)Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico, (2)Organization Not Listed, Washington, DC, United States, (3)UNAM National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
Tacaná (4100 m asl) is the northernmost volcano of the Central America Volcanic Arc. The volcano hosts a volcano-hydrothermal system that is manifested as a low-temperature fumarolic field at 3600 m asl and several groups of thermal springs principally located at the northwestern slopes of the volcanic edifice, at altitudes 1500 - 2000 m asl. These thermal springs discharge SO4-HCO3-enriched water (up to 1 g/kg of each one) with temperatures in the 25-63°C range. There are two distinct groups of springs with a different chloride-temperature and chloride-sulfate correlations but with the same 87Sr/86Sr ratio (~0.7046±0.0002) indicating the same wall rock composition for different aquifers. On April 2014, we found a cold spring (Manantial Nuevo), located at an elevation ~500 m lower than the others and with a different chemical composition, that discharges Na-Cl-type water with Cl concentration of 1.4 g/l and Na+K concentration up to 1.5 g/l. This new spring forms a fourth group, representing a stratified geothermal aquifer.

Each thermal spring feeds a thermal stream that flows into the main drainage of the area, Río Coatán. Solute and heat fluxes from thermal springs of Tacaná volcano are estimated by the chloride-inventory method. The total observed chloride discharge from the thermal springs is estimated as 14.8 g/s and the total measured heat output of ~9.5 MW. Considering a deep fluid temperature of 250°C, the corresponding advective heat transport from the deep reservoirs that feed these springs may be estimate as 26 MW. However, the total chloride output measured in the main drainage (Coatán river) is 4 times higher (~59 g/s) than the measured Cl output of all known thermal springs. This means that other, undiscovered, thermal discharges exist in the area and that the natural heat output through thermal springs at Tacaná is significantly higher and depends on the Cl content and temperatures of the unknown thermal water discharges. If chloride concentration in these unknown springs does not exceed 540 mg/l (the average analyzed Cl in Tacaná springs) and the discharge temperature is 50°C, then the natural heat output can be estimated at least as 22 MW and the corresponding advective heat transport as ~100 MW.