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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 69 (1985)

Issue: 2. (February)

First Page: 273

Last Page: 273

Title: Low to Intermediate Subsurface Temperatures Calculated by Chemical Geothermometers: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Yousif K. Kharaka, Daniel J. Specht, William W. Carothers

Article Type: Meeting abstract


The concentrations of silica and proportions of sodium, potassium, lithium, calcium, and magnesium in water from hot springs and geothermal wells have been combined into 14 chemical geothermometers that are used successfully to estimate the subsurface temperatures of the reservoir rocks. Modified versions of these 14 geothermometers and a new chemical geothermometer, based on the concentrations of magnesium and lithium, were used to estimate the subsurface temperatures (40°C-200°C) of more than 200 formation-water samples from about 30 oil and gas fields located in coastal Texas and Louisiana, Central Valley, California, and North Slope, Alaska. The new Mg-Li geothermometer, which can be used to estimate subsurface temperatures as high as 350°C, is given by

t = (1,900/(4.67 + log[(CMg)0.5/CLi]) - 273

where t is temperature (°C) and C is the concentration (mg/L) of the subscripted cation.

Quartz, Mg-Li, Na-K-Ca-Mg, and Na-Li geothermometers give concordant subsurface temperatures that are within 10°C of the measured values for reservoir temperatures higher than about 70°C. Mg-Li, Na-Li, chalcedony, and Na-K geothermometers give the best results for reservoir temperatures from 40°C to 70°C. Subsurface temperatures calculated by chemical geothermometers are at least as reliable as those obtained by conventional methods. Chemical and conventional methods should be used together where reliable temperature data are required.

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