ENE-2011-01 Geothermometry of Thermal Springs in the Rico, Dunton, and West Fork Dolores River Areas, Dolores County, Colorado


Previous heat flow and geothermal gradient research indicated the area around Rico, Colorado had a geothermal resource with potential for direct use in recreational spas and pools, agriculture, greenhouses, light industrial processes, and space heating situations. The purpose of this study was to investigate improvements in geothermometry methods to determine if better control and confidence could be attained regarding geothermal resource temperatures at depth. Digital PDF download. ENE-2011-01D

From the Introduction:

This report describes the location, physical setting, hydrochemistry, and geothermometry of ten thermal springs or wells in the Rico Group and West Fork Group of the Dolores River areas of Colorado. Geothermometry is a technique used to estimate the subsurface temperature of a geothermal reservoir, or the most recent temperature at which the water has undergone chemical reactions. This information is useful in geothermal exploration when considering the resource potential of an area. Statewide, Colorado has a significant geothermal power generation potential, and the area centered on the Town of Rico is among the highest heat flow areas in the State.

Recently, there has been increased interest in renewable sources of energy because of the increasing costs of fossil fuels and environmental impacts from the use of fossil fuels. Geothermal energy is a renewable form of energy that at higher temperatures (circa 150°C/300°F or more) can be used for producing electrical power and at somewhat lower temperatures can be used directly for heating of buildings, industrial processes, greenhouse agriculture, aquaculture, and recreational/health resorts. This report provides important information to help determine the temperature and potential uses of the geothermal resources near Rico and Dunton.