About This Item

Share This Item

The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 56 (1972)

Issue: 9. (September)

First Page: 1896

Last Page: 1896

Title: Geothermal Power in the Southwest: ABSTRACT

Author(s): H. S. Birdseye

Article Type: Meeting abstract


In this era of great concern over the environment and the energy crisis, much attention is being directed toward geothermal power as a partial panacea for both predicaments. Of approximately 1,100 known geothermal occurrences in the United States, most of which are in and west of the Rockies, a relatively small percentage are classified as dry steam reservoirs, capable of producing hot unsaturated steam which poses minimal effluent disposal problems. Others, such as the Salton Sea field in southern California, pose critical waste brine difficulties, which will probably be solved only by reinjection. A major geothermal field, e.g., the Geysers in northern California, is expected to produce steam adequate to generate from 1,000 to 2,000 megawatts of electricity, with 50-yea gross revenue from steam sales on the order of $2 billion.

There are known geothermal occurrences in the southwestern states of Texas (less than a dozen), New Mexico (57), Arizona (21), Nevada (185), and southern California (about 30). It is likely that additional geothermal prospects will be developed by the use of sophisticated geologic mapping, coupled with such geophysical methods as studies of temperature-gradients, microseisms and ground noises, resistivity, and remote sensing, and chemical methodology useful in determining maximum water temperature in the system and the age of that water.

End_of_Article - Last_Page 1896------------

Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists