Results of drilling, logging, and testing of three exploration core holes, combined with results of geologic and hydrogeochemical investigations, have been used to present a reservoir model of the Platanares geothermal system, Honduras. Geothermal fluids circulate at depths ??? 1.5 km in a region of active tectonism devoid of Quaternary volcanism. Large, artesian water entries of 160 to 165??C geothermal fluid in two core holes at 625 to 644 m and 460 to 635 m depth have maximum flow rates of roughly 355 and 560 l/min, respectively, which are equivalent to power outputs of about 3.1 and 5.1 MW(thermal). Dilute, alkali-chloride reservoir fluids (TDS ??? 1200 mg/kg) are produced from fractured Miocene andesite and Cretaceous to Eocene redbeds that are hydrothermally altered. Fracture permeabillity in producing horizons is locally greater than 1500 and bulk porosity is ??? 6%. A simple, fracture-dominated, volume-impedance model assuming turbulent flow indicates that the calculated reservoir storage capacity of each flowing hole is approximately 9.7 ?? 106 l/(kg cm-2), Tritium data indicate a mean residence time of 450 yr for water in the reservoir. Multiplying the natural fluid discharge rate by the mean residence time gives an estimated water volume of the Platanares system of ??? 0.78 km3. Downward continuation of a 139??C/km "conductive" gradient at a depth of 400 m in a third core hole implies that the depth to a 225??C source reservoir (predicted from chemical geothermometers) is at least 1.5 km. Uranium-thorium disequilibrium ages on calcite veins at the surface and in the core holes indicate that the present Platanares hydrothermal system has been active for the last 0.25 m.y. ?? 1991.
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Exploration drilling and reservoir model of the Platanares geothermal system, Honduras, Central America