Faults are important controls on hydrothermal circulation worldwide. More specifically, structural discontinuities, i.e. locations where faults interact and intersect, host many hydrothermal systems. In the Great Basin, western USA, an extensive characterization effort demonstrated that hydrothermal systems are controlled by one (or more) of eight types of structural discontinuities. Presumably, specific attributes of these structural settings control the generation and maintenance of permeability and porosity, and therefore localize hydrothermal processes. Herein, I examine representative examples of the eight structural settings that host hydrothermal systems in the Great Basin. For each setting, I use a boundary element method to model fault slip on the major faults and track the distribution of stress and strain in the surrounding crust. Results demonstrate that the largest magnitude and most localized stress and strain effects occur in the structural settings that host the largest number of hydrothermal systems; fault stepovers and fault terminations. Structural settings that are common in areas of strike-slip faulting also show localized stress and strain effects. The modelling presented provides process-based explanations for the empirical and conceptual results of regional characterization of Great Basin hydrothermal systems.
|Title||Structural discontinuities and their control on hydrothermal systems in the Great Basin, USA|
|Authors||Drew L. Siler|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center|