Geological, geophysical, thermal, petrophysical and hydrological data available for the East Mesa hydrothermal system that are pertinent to the construction of a computer model of the natural flow of heat and fluid mass within the system are assembled and correlated. A conceptual model of the full system is developed and a subregion selected for quantitative modeling. By invoking the .Boussinesq approximation, valid for describing the natural flow of heat and mass in a liquid hydrothermal system, it is found practical to carry computer simulations far enough in time to ensure that steady-state conditions are obtained. Initial calculations for an axisymmetric model approximating the system demonstrate that the vertical formation permeability of the deep East Mesa system must be very low (kv ~ 0.25 to 0.5 md). Since subsurface temperature and surface heat flow data exhibit major deviations from the axisymmetric approximation, exploratory three-dimensional calculations are performed to assess the effects of various mechanisms which might operate to produce such observed asymmetries. A three-dimensional model evolves from this iterative data synthesis and computer analysis which includes a hot fluid convective source distributed along a leaky fault radiating northward from the center of the hot spot and realistic variations in the reservoir formation properties.
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USGS Numbered Series
Integrated model of the shallow and deep hydrothermal systems in the East Mesa area, Imperial Valley, California