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Repeat magnetotelluric measurements to monitor The Geysers steam field in northern California

February 28, 2022

The Geysers in northern California is the world’s largest electricity generating steam field. To help understand changes in the steam reservoir, repeat magnetotelluric (MT) measurements are being collected once a year from 2021-2023. These data will be compared and modeled to provide 4-D images of changes within the reservoir. Joint inversion with passive seismic data will be done to further constrain changes observed in the geophysical models. This study describes the first repeat survey and provides comparisons with MT data collected in 2017. In April 2021, 41 of the 42 MT stations collected in 2017 were repeated in addition to 14 new stations in the southern part of the steam field. Calculating residual phase tensors from MT responses between the two surveys shows compartmentalized changes within the steam field. Changes are observed at periods longer than 1 second with the largest changes of up to 30 percent observed at periods of 30 seconds. The residual phase tensors also show good repeatability between the surveys for periods less than 1 second, with changes on the order of 1 percent. To model the data, the preferred 3D resistivity volume that resulted from the inversion of the 2017 data is employed as the starting model for inversion of the new data. The two resulting inversion models are then subtracted to identify areas of change within the reservoir.

Publication Year 2022
Title Repeat magnetotelluric measurements to monitor The Geysers steam field in northern California
Authors Jared R. Peacock, David Alumbaugh, Michael Albert Mitchell, Craig Hartline
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70238329
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center; Volcano Science Center