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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 65 (1981)

Issue: 5. (May)

First Page: 951

Last Page: 951

Title: Geologic and Geophysical Study of Cerro Prieto Geothermal Field, Mexico: ABSTRACT

Author(s): D. J. Lyons, P. C. Van de Kamp, S. P. Vonder Haar

Article Type: Meeting abstract


The Cerro Prieto geothermal field is near the southwestern margin of the Colorado River delta, Baja California. The subsurface stratigraphy at Cerro Prieto is characterized by complex vertical and lateral variations in lithofacies, which is typical of deltaic deposits. The geothermal production zone is not a uniform reservoir layer overlain by a laterally continuous top seal of low-permeability strata.

The top of the geothermal-related hydrothermal alteration zone has a dome-like configuration which cuts across the sedimentary strata. Shales in the altered zone exhibit high densities and high resistivities on the well logs relative to those outside the zone. The geothermal producing intervals generally straddle or underlie the top of the altered shale zone.

Sandstones in the hydrothermal alteration zone commonly have fair to good porosities (15 to 35% or higher), which have resulted from the removal of unstable grains and carbonate cement by solution. Open fractures are unusual in the altered zone, based on core description. While fractures may be an important contributor to local reservoir permeability, secondary matrix porosity and permeability are considered to be more important volumetrically in the Cerro Prieto reservoirs.

Detection of geothermal anomalies in the Cerro Prieto region may be difficult from resistivity, magnetic, or gravity data. However, the occurrence of a reflection-poor zone coincident with the hydrothermal alteration zone suggests that the seismic reflection method may be a good approach to detecting these anomalies. Other types of geophysical data are necessary to eliminate alternate causes of reflection-poor zones on seismic profiles.

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Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists