Over 5% of heat in the western USA is lost through Quaternary silicic volcanic centers, including the Valles caldera in N central New Mexico. These centers are the sites of major hydrothermal activity and upper crustal metamorphism, metasomatism, and mineralization, producing associated geothermal resources. Presents new heat flow data from Valles caldera core hole 1 (VC-1), drilled in the SW margin of the Valles caldera. Thermal conductivities were measured on 55 segments of core from VC-1, waxed and wrapped to preserve fluids. These values were combined with temperature gradient data to calculate heat flow. Above 335 m, which is probably unsaturated, heat flow is 247 + or - 16 mW m-2. Inteprets the shallow thermal gradient data and the thermal regime at VC-1 to indicate a long-lived hydrothermal (and magmatic) system in the southwestern Valles caldera that has been maintained through the generation of shallow magma bodies during the long postcollapse history of the caldera. High heat flow at the VC-1 site is interpreted to result from hot water circulating below the base of the core hole, and we attribute the lower heat flow in the unsaturated zone is attributed to hydrologic recharge. -from Authors
Additional publication details
Conductive heat flux in VC-1 and the thermal regime of Valles caldera, Jemez Mountains, New Mexico ( USA).