Geophyical Logging and Water-Quality Assessment for Project Hot Spot

Science Center Objects

Relatively little is known about the Yellowstone-Snake River "hotspot" system. To increase our knowledge, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Program provided over $4.5 million of this $6.7 million project using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.

Each of the project's partners had unique objectives including:

  • Studying the interaction between the Earth’s crust and mantle
  • Identifying potential geothermal energy sources
  • Tracking the Yellowstone hotspot evolution and movement

On October 4 and 5, 2010, we joined Utah State University Project Hotspot partners at the Kimama, ID drilling site to learn more about the eastern Snake River Plain.

Three exploration wells were completed near cities in southern Idaho— Kimama (Jan 2011), Kimberly (June 2011), and Mountain Home (Jan 2012). A total of 17,815 feet of core was collected from the three wells and analysis will continue into the future.

In addition to sharing our geophysical logging expertise and equipment, we collected water samples from the eastern Snake River Plain aquifer. The samples were analyzed to help us determine if contamination from the INL facility has migrated past our study area boundaries to the location of the Kimama well. 

In the upper 2,498 ft of the 5,976 ft deep hole near Kimama, we identified eight sediment layers ranging from 4-60 ft thick, and 155 individual basalt flows ranging from <3 ft - >175 ft thick.

Water-quality analysis indicates that INL activities do not affect the water quality at the Kimama location.