Towards understanding the puzzling lack of acid geothermal springs in Tibet (China): Insight from a comparison with Yellowstone (USA) and some active volcanic hydrothermal systems

Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
By: , and 

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Abstract

Explanations for the lack of acid geothermal springs in Tibet are inferred from a comprehensive hydrochemical comparison of Tibetan geothermal waters with those discharged from Yellowstone (USA) and two active volcanic areas, Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) and Miravalles (Costa Rica) where acid springs are widely distributed and diversified in terms of geochemical characteristic and origin. For the hydrothermal areas investigated in this study, there appears to be a relationship between the depths of magma chambers and the occurrence of acid, chloride-rich springs formed via direct magmatic fluid absorption. Nevado del Ruiz and Miravalles with magma at or very close to the surface (less than 1–2 km) exhibit very acidic waters containing HCl and H2SO4. In contrast, the Tibetan hydrothermal systems, represented by Yangbajain, usually have fairly deep-seated magma chambers so that the released acid fluids are much more likely to be fully neutralized during transport to the surface. The absence of steam-heated acid waters in Tibet, however, may be primarily due to the lack of a confining layer (like young impermeable lavas at Yellowstone) to separate geothermal steam from underlying neutral chloride waters and the possible scenario that the deep geothermal fluids below Tibet carry less H2S than those below Yellowstone.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Towards understanding the puzzling lack of acid geothermal springs in Tibet (China): Insight from a comparison with Yellowstone (USA) and some active volcanic hydrothermal systems
Series title Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
DOI 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2014.10.005
Volume 288
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) National Research Program - Central Branch
Description 11 p.
First page 94
Last page 104
Country China, United States
Other Geospatial Tibet, Yellowstone National Park