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The Newcastle geothermal system, Iron County, Utah (OFR-189)


By: R. E. Blackett, M. A. Shubat, D. S. Chapman, C. B. Forster, C. M. Schlinger, and C. E. Bishop

Geological, geophysical and geochemical studies contributed to a conceptual hydrologic model of the ''blind'' (no surface expression), moderate-temperature Newcastle geothermal system, located in the Basin and Range-Colorado Plateau transition zone of southwestern Utah. Temperature gradient measurements define a thermal anomaly centered near the surface trace of the range-bounding Antelope Range fault with an elongate dissipative plume extending north into the adjacent Escalante Valley. Spontaneous potential and resistivity surveys sharply define the geometry of the dominant upflow zone (not yet explored), indicating that most of the thermal fluid issues from a short segment along the Antelope Range fault and discharges into a gently-dipping aquifer. Production wells show that this aquifer lies at a depth between 85 and 95 meters. Electrical surveys also show that some leakage of thermal fluid occurs over a 1.5 km (minimum) interval along the trace of the Antelope Range fault. Major element, oxygen and hydrogen isotopic analyses of water samples indicate that the thermal fluid is a mixture of meteoric water derived from recharge areas in the Pine Valley Mountains and cold, shallow groundwater. A northwest -southeast trending system of faults, encompassing a zone of increased fracture permeability, collects meteoric water from the recharge area, allows circulation to a depth of 3 to 5 kilometers, and intersects the northeast-striking Antelope Range fault. We postulate that mineral precipitates form a seal along the Antelope Range fault, preventing the discharge of thermal fluids into basin-fill sediments at depth, and allowing heated fluid to approach the surface. Eventually, continued mineral deposition could result in the development of hot springs at the ground surface.

Other Information:
Published: 1990
Pages: 179 p.
Plates: 3 pl.
Scale: 1:24,000
Location: Iron County
Media Type: Paper Publication

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