Insights from gas and water chemistry on the geothermal system of the Domuyo volcanic complex (Patagonia, Argentina)
Monday, 14 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
This study focuses on the geochemistry of geothermal fluids discharging from the western flank of the Domuyo volcanic complex (Argentina), which is hosted within an extensional basins that interrupts the Andes at latitudes comprises between 35° and 39°S. The analytical results of gas and water samples collected during three sampling campaigns (2013, 2014 and 2015) are presented and discussed in order to: i) evaluate the equilibrium temperature(s) of the main fluid reservoir, ii) provide information on the origin of the fluid discharges and the secondary processes controlling their chemistry. Geothermometry based on the chemical composition of thermal waters indicates a maximum equilibrium temperature of 220 °C. This temperature, coupled with the measured amount of discharged Cl, suggest that the total energy released from this system is 1.1±0.2 GW. Atmospheric gases from a thick shallow aquifer contaminate most gas emissions, masking the chemical features of the deep fluid component, with the only exception of a jet fumarole located at 3,000 m a.s.l. (Bramadora). The H2O-CO2-CH4-H2-CO-C3H6-C3H8 composition of this gas emission was used to construct a geochemical conceptual model showing that the hydrothermal reservoir is liquid-dominated and thermally stratified, with temperatures ranging from 180 to 270 °C. The helium isotopic ratios (up to 6.8 Ra) and the δ13C-CO2 values (from -7.05 to -7.75 ‰ V-PDB) indicate that mantle degassing represents the dominant primary source for this dormant volcano. These results highlight the huge potential of this system as energy resource for the region. Accordingly, the regional authorities have recently planned and approved an investigation project aimed to provide further insights into the fluid geochemistry and the geostructural assessment in this promising area.