Noble gases have been measured mass spectrometrically in samples collected during 1977 from producing wells at Cerro Prieto. Positive correlations between concentrations of radiogenic (He and 40Ar) and atmospheric noble gases (Ne, Ar and Kr) suggest the following dynamic model: the geothermal fluids originated from meteoric water that penetrated to more than 2500 m depth (below the level of first boiling) and mixed with radiogenic He and 40Ar formed in the aquifer rocks. Subsequently, small amounts of steam were lost by a Raleigh process (0 - 30%) and mixing with shallow cold water occurred (0 - 30%). Noble gases are sensitive tracers of boiling in the initial stages of 0 - 3% steam separation and complement other tracers, such as C1 or temperature, which are effective only beyond this range. ?? 1984.
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Dynamics of a geothermal field traced by noble gases: Cerro Prieto, Mexico