As part of a joint USGS-CFE geochemical study of Cerro Prieto, steam samples were collected for gas analyses in April, 1977. Analyses of the major gas components of the steam were made by wet chemistry (for H2O,CO2,H2S and NH3) and by gas chromatography (He,H2,Ar,O2,N2 and hydrocarbons). The hydrocarbon gases in Cerro Prieto steam closely resemble hydrocarbons in steam from Larderello, Italy and The Geysers, California which, although they are vapor-dominated rather than hot-water geothermal systems, also have sedimentary aquifer rocks. These sedimentary geothermal hydrocarbons are characterized by the presence of branched C4-6 compounds and a lack of unsaturated compounds other than benzene. Relatively large amounts of benzene may be characteristic of high-temperature geothermal systems. All hydrocarbons in these gases other than methane most probably originate from the thermal metamorphosis of organic matter contained in the sediments. ?? 1979.
Additional publication details
Gases in steam from Cerro Prieto geothermal wells with a discussion of steam/gas ratio measurements