Geological, geophysical, thermal, petrophysical and hydrological data available for the East Mesa hydrothermal system that are pertinent to the construction of a computer model of the natural flow of heat and fluid mass within the system are assembled and correlated. A conceptual model of the full system is developed and a subregion selected for quantitative modeling. By invoking the .Boussinesq approximation, valid for describing the natural flow of heat and mass in a liquid hydrothermal system, it is found practical to carry computer simulations far enough in time to ensure that steady-state conditions are obtained. Initial calculations for an axisymmetric model approximating the system demonstrate that the vertical formation permeability of the deep East Mesa system must be very low (kv ~ 0.25 to 0.5 md). Since subsurface temperature and surface heat flow data exhibit major deviations from the axisymmetric approximation, exploratory three-dimensional calculations are performed to assess the effects of various mechanisms which might operate to produce such observed asymmetries. A three-dimensional model evolves from this iterative data synthesis and computer analysis which includes a hot fluid convective source distributed along a leaky fault radiating northward from the center of the hot spot and realistic variations in the reservoir formation properties.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Integrated model of the shallow and deep hydrothermal systems in the East Mesa area, Imperial Valley, California