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Deformation near the Casa Diablo geothermal well field and related processes Long Valley caldera, Eastern California, 1993-2000

Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research

By:
, , ,
DOI: 10.1016/S0377-0273(03)00177-X

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Abstract

Regional first-order leveling lines, which extend from Lee Vining, CA, to Tom's Place, CA, have been surveyed periodically since 1957 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Geodetic Survey (NGS), and Caltrans. Two of the regional survey lines, or leveling networks, intersect at the Casa Diablo geothermal well field. These leveling networks, referenced to a distant bench mark (C916) near Lee Vining, provide time-series vertical control data of land-surface deformation that began around 1980. These data are also useful for delineating localized subsidence at Casa Diablo related to reservoir pressure and temperature changes owing to geothermal development that began in 1985. A comparison of differences in bench-mark elevations for five time periods between 1983 and 1997 shows the development and expansion of a subsidence bowl at Casa Diablo. The subsidence coincides spatially with the geothermal well field and temporally with the increased production rates and the deepening of injection wells in 1991, which resulted in an increase in the rate of pressure decline. The subsidence, superimposed on a broad area of uplift, totaled about 310 mm by 1997. The USGS established orthogonal tilt arrays in 1983 to better monitor deformation across the caldera. One tilt array (DBR) was established near what would later become the Casa Diablo geothermal well field. This array responded to magmatic intrusions prior to geothermal development, tilting away from the well field. With the start of geothermal fluid extraction in 1985, tilt at the DBR array reversed direction and began tilting into the well field. In 1991, geothermal power production was increased by a factor of four, and reservoir pressures began a period of steep decline. These changes caused a temporary three-fold increase in the tilt rate. The tilt rate became stable in 1993 and was about 40% lower than that measured in 1991-1992, but still greater than the rates measured during 1985-1990. Data from the local leveling networks spanning the well field and the bounding graben were analyzed for several 2-year periods (1993-1995, 1995-1997, and 1997-1999). Annual rates of change across the normal faults bounding the graben have steadily decreased for each 2-year period between 1993 and 1999, reflecting the slowing decline in geothermal reservoir pressure. Horizontal control data from a two-color electronic distance meter (EDM) defined the lateral extent of subsidence at Casa Diablo. The EDM and leveling data elucidate the localized effect of the shallow source of subsidence and the broader effect of the deeper magmatic inflation source. Data from bench marks common to both the vertical and the horizontal control networks were used to assess the effect of subsidence on the EDM base station (CASA). Modeling of geodetic data collected during periods of little or no magmatic inflation indicated that the CASA two-color EDM station is being drawn toward the well field at a rate of 3-5 mm/yr. ?? 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Deformation near the Casa Diablo geothermal well field and related processes Long Valley caldera, Eastern California, 1993-2000
Series title:
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
DOI:
10.1016/S0377-0273(03)00177-X
Volume
127
Issue:
3-4
Year Published:
2003
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
First page:
365
Last page:
390
Number of Pages:
26