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The origin of the Cerro Prieto geothermal brine

January 1, 1981

The Cerro Prieto geothermal brine may have originated from mixing of Colorado River water with seawater evaporated to about six times its normal salinity. This mixture circulated deeply and was heated by magmatic processes. During deep circulation, Li, K, Ca, B, SiO2 and rare alkalis were transferred from rock minerals to the water, and Mg, SO4, and a minor quantity of Na were transferred to the rock. Similar alteration of seawater salt chemistry has been observed in coastal geothermal systems and produced in laboratory experiments. After heating and alteration the brine was further diluted to its present range of composition. Oxygen isotopes in the fluid are in equilibrium with reservoir calcite and have been affected by exploitation-induced boiling and dilution. ?? 1981.