Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Geologic setting of the proposed West Flank Forge Site, California: Suitability for EGS research and development

January 1, 2017

The proposed West Flank FORGE site is within the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS), China Lake, CA. The West Flank is west of the Coso geothermal field, an area of China Lake NAWS dominated by the Quaternary Coso volcanic field largely comprised of rhyolite domes and their volcaniclastic and epiclastic horizons. The largest dome flow complex, Sugarloaf Mountain, marks the northwestern margin of the geothermal field. The West Flank is situated due west of Sugarloaf. The geologic setting of the West Flank was determined from one deep well (83-11) drilled as a potential production hole in 2009. The bottom-hole temperature (BHT) of well 83-11 approaches 600 oF (315˚C), but flow tests demonstrate very low, non-commercial permeabilities. With the exception of the upper 600 feet of volcaniclastic alluvium, well 83-11 is completed in granitic basement. The West Flank possesses the primary attributes of a FORGE site: non-commercial permeability (<10-16m2), a 175˚ to 225˚C temperature range in crystalline rocks, and a location outside an existing geothermal field

The Coso Mountains host the Coso volcanic field and are within a right-releasing stepover between the dextral Airport Lake (ALF) and Little Lake fault zones (LLFZ) and the Wild Horse Mesa and Owens Valley faults. Two distinct fault populations have been identified at Coso: WNW-trending and antithetical, NE-trending strike-slip faults and N- to NNE-trending normal faults. These faults are both high permeability drilling targets at depth within the main (productive) geothermal field and they locally segment the field into distinct hydrothermal regimes. The West Flank may be segmented from the rest of the field by one such northerly trending fault. The overall minimum principal stress orientation in the main geothermal field varies from 103˚ to 108˚; however, the minimum horizontal principal stress in 83-11 is rotated to 081˚.

Publication Year 2017
Title Geologic setting of the proposed West Flank Forge Site, California: Suitability for EGS research and development
Authors Andrew Sabin, Kelly Blake, Mike Lazaro, Douglas Blankenship, Mack Kennedy, Jess McCullough, S.B. DeOreo, Stephen H. Hickman, Jonathan M.G. Glen, J. Ole Kaven, Colin F. Williams, Geoffrey Phelps, James E. Faulds, Nicholas H. Hinz, Wendy M. Calvin, Drew Siler, Ann Robertson-Tait
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title GRC Transactions
Index ID 70191539
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Science Center