Extreme Hydrothermal Conditions Near an Active Geological Fault, DFDP-2B Borehole, Alpine Fault, New Zealand
Monday, 14 December 2015: 08:30
306 (Moscone South)
The DFDP-2B borehole sampled rocks above and within the upper part of the Alpine Fault, New Zealand, to a depth of 893 m in late 2014. The experiment was the first to drill a major geological fault zone that is active and late in its earthquake cycle. We determined ambient fluid pressures 8-10% above hydrostatic and a geothermal gradient of 130-150 °C/km in rocks above the fault. These unusual ambient conditions can be explained by a combination of: rock advection that transports heat from depth by uplift and oblique slip on the fault; and fluid advection through fractured rock, driven by topographic forcing, which concentrates heat and causes fluid over-pressure in the valley. Highly-anomalous ambient conditions can exist in the vicinity of active faults, and earthquake and mineralization processes occur within these zones.