Evaluating the role of the Rhyolite Ridge Fault System in the Desert Peak Geothermal Field, NV: Boundary Element Modeling of Fracture Potential in Proximity of Fault Slip
|Swyer, Michael Wheelock
|Slip on the geometrically complex Rhyolite Ridge Fault System and associated local stresses in the Desert Peak Geothermal Field in Nevada, were modeled with the boundary element method (BEM) implemented in Poly3D. The impact of uncertainty in the fault geometry at depth, the tectonic stresses driving slip, and the potential ranges of frictional strength resisting slip on the likely predictions of fracture slip and formation in the surrounding volume due to these local stresses were systematically explored and quantified. The effect of parameter uncertainty was evaluated by determining the frequency distribution of model predicted values. Alternatively, Bayesian statistics were used to determine the best fitting values for parameters within a probability distribution derived from the difference of the model prediction from the observed data. This approach honors the relative contribution of uncertainties from all existing data that constrains the fault parameters. Lastly, conceptual models for different fault geometries and their evolution were heuristically explored and the predictions of local stress states were compared to available measurements of the local stresses, fault and fracture patterns at the surface and in boreholes, and the spatial extent of the geothermal field. The complex fault geometry leads to a high degree of variability in the locations experiencing stress states that promote fracture, but such locations generally correlate with the main injection and production wells at Desert Peak. In addition, the strongest and most common stress concentrations occur within relays between unconnected fault segments, and at bends and intersections in faults that connect overlapping fault segments associated with relays. The modeling approach in this study tests the conceptual model of the fault geometry at Desert Peak while honoring mechanical constants and available constraints on driving stresses and provides a framework that aids in geothermal exploration by predicting the spatial variations in stresses likely to cause and reactivate fractures necessary to sustain hydrothermal fluid flow. This approach also quantifies the relative sensitivity of such predictions to fault geometry, remote stress, and friction, and determines the best fitting model with its associated probability.
|Temple University. Libraries
|Theses and Dissertations
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|Boundary Element Modeling
|Evaluating the role of the Rhyolite Ridge Fault System in the Desert Peak Geothermal Field, NV: Boundary Element Modeling of Fracture Potential in Proximity of Fault Slip
|Grandstaff, David E.
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