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Montana Geological Society: Energy Resources of Montana
GEOTHERMAL INVESTIGATIONS OF SELECTED MONTANA HOT SPRINGS
Recent technological advances in the utilization of low temperature (100-150°C) geothermal waters for electric power generation have created a need for further evaluation of potential geothermal resources in many states. Investigations of low temperature thermal discharges in Montana reveal the presence of four distinct types of hydrothermal systems: warm springs in carbonate rock; hot springs in fractured, crystalline bedrock; hot springs in valley fill overlying fractured or porous bedrock; and springs fed from deep, confined aquifers.
Base temperatures of selected Montana hydrothermal systems have been estimated using geochemical techniques: dissolved silica concentration in the discharge water appears to be the most reliable indicator. Most base temperatures fall in the range 95-115°C; cold water dilution may be a factor in some systems. Results suggest that many Montana hydrothermal systems result from deep circulation of ground water under the influence of the regional heat flow from the mantle.
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