Geothermal Potential of Sub-Volcanic Intrusions in a Typical Caldera Setting

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Mineralogi, petrologi och tektonik

Abstract: Sub-volcanic intrusions can form an extensive network of sills, dikes and other intrusion types that make up a plumbing system beneath volcanoes. Such intrusions are the heat source for high-temperature geothermal systems in volcanic areas and therefore, it is of great importance to study them in relation to geothermal exploration and production. In this thesis a part of the plumbing system of Breiðuvík caldera, an eroded central volcano in northeastern Iceland, is studied. A set of magmatic intrusions showing a great range in size and shapes, is exposed in Leirfjall, a mountain composed of the eroded caldera infill of the Breiðuvík volcanic system. Data from these intrusions and their host rock is used as the foundation for numerical modeling using finite element method (FEM) constructed in this thesis. The numerical modeling assumes heat transfer in porous media including conduction and convection where fluid flow is governed by the Darcy‘s law. The aims of it is to compare the cooling times of different intrusions and the temperature distribution caused by intrusions of different sizes and shapes. To obtain input parameters for the numerical modeling, a thermometry study based on the mineral chemistry of the magmatic intrusions in Leirfjall is conducted and the thermal and physical properties of the sedimentary host rock are estimated, while literature values are used for basaltic lava and hyaloclastite host rocks for comparison. The results of the numerical modeling suggest that higher maximum values of increased temperature are reached above one thick intrusions compared to multiple thinner intrusions. When comparing dikes and sills, the dikes raise the maximum temperature of the host rock more than the sills, while the sills raise the average temperature above the intrusions more than dikes. Results of the estimated heat transfer from an arrangement of intrusions similar to what is observed in Leirfjall suggests that a significant increase in maximum increased temperature caused by the intrusions would be short-lived, while the average increase would still be constant over a longer time. Despite of the simplified structure of the numerical models it is the hope that they will provide inspiring data for further research and contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between the shallow magmatic intrusions and geothermal systems.

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