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2D and 3D potential field mapping and modelling at the Fallon FORGE site, Nevada, USA

December 1, 2018

Accurate geological characterization of Fallon FORGE is important for preparing the site as an EGS laboratory. As part of this effort, a 3D geologic map was constructed previously from well logs, surface geologic mapping, 2D seismic profiles, interpreted gravity & magnetic maps, and a gravity-inferred basement surface. In this study, we have conducted both 2D and 3D modelling of high-resolution gravity and magnetic data (pre-existing and new) in an effort to further refine and test this 3D geologic map at Fallon. This effort enabled a direct comparison of the 2D and 3D model results. Potential field modelling was guided by rock-property measurements of samples from drill-core and outcrop from the Fallon area. In total, five 2D potential field model profiles, up to 30 km in length, were constructed that extend across the Fallon area. The 3D gravity model volume was 8 km (N-S) x 8 km (E-W) x 4 km (thick). The majority of the 3D gravity model volume had 100 m cubic cells; but cells near the land surface were 1 m thick to adequately capture topography. Overall, the 2D & 3D geophysical modelling largely confirmed the previously constructed 3D geologic map at Fallon for three reasons: 1) lithologic boundaries in the 2D & 3D density models mostly agree with those in the 3D geologic map, 2) the rock properties used in the models lie within the range of independent measurements made on representative rock samples from the region, and 3) the match between the observed and calculated anomalies are largely within the measurement error of the observed fields. In places where the geophysical and geologic models differ, geophysical model results have revealed subsurface structural features that have helped refine geologic interpretations which, in turn, lead to adjustments to the 3D geologic map. In this paper, we present the 2D & 3D geophysical model results and discuss how they were utilized to confirm and refine our 3D geologic understanding of the Fallon FORGE site.

Publication Year 2018
Title 2D and 3D potential field mapping and modelling at the Fallon FORGE site, Nevada, USA
Authors Jeffrey B. Witter, Jonathan M. G. Glen, Drew L. Siler, Dominique Fournier
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geothermal Resources Council Transactions
Index ID 70201802
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center