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Conductive Heat-Flux in Vc-1 and the Thermal Regime of Valles Caldera, Jemez Mountains, New-Mexico

Sass, Jh and Morgan, P (1988) Conductive Heat-Flux in Vc-1 and the Thermal Regime of Valles Caldera, Jemez Mountains, New-Mexico. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth and Planets, 93 (B6). pp. 6027-6039. ISSN 0148-0227


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Publisher’s or external URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/JB093iB06p06027


Over 5% of heat in the western United States is lost through Quaternary silicic volcanic centers, including the Valles caldera in north central New Mexico. These centers are the sites of major hydrothermal activity and upper crustal metamorphism, metasomatism, and mineralization, producing associated geothermal resources. We present new heat flow data from Valles caldera core hole 1 (VC-1), drilled in the southwestern margin of the Valles caldera. Thermal conductivities were measured on 55 segments of core from VC-1, waxed and wrapped to preserve fluids. These values were combined with temperature gradient data to calculate heat flow. Above 335 m, which is probably unsaturated, heat flow is 247±16 mW m−2. The only deep temperature information available is from an uncalibrated commercial log made 19 months after drilling. Gradients, derived from uncalibrated temperature logs, and conductivities are inversely correlated between 335 and 737 m, indicating a conductive thermal regime, and component heat fluxes over three depth intervals (335–539 m, 549–628 m, and 628–737 m) are in excellent agreement with each other with an average of 504±15 mW m−2. Temperature logs to 518 m depth with well-calibrated temperature sensors result in a revised heat flow of 463±15 mW m. We use shallow thermal gradient data from 75 other sites in and around the caldera to interpret the thermal regime at the VC-1 site. A critical review of published thermal conductivity data from the Valles caldera yields an average thermal conductivity of ≥1 W m−1 K−1 for the near-surface tuffaceous material, and we assume that shallow gradient values (°C km−1) are approximately numerically equal to heat flow (mW m−2). Heat loss from the caldera is asymmetrically distributed, with higher values (400 mW m−2 or higher) concentrated in the west-southwestern quadrant of the caldera. This quadrant also contains the main drainage from the caldera and the youngest volcanism associated with the caldera. We interpret the shallow thermal gradient data and the thermal regime at VC-1 to indicate a long-lived hydrothermal (and magmatic) system in the southwestern Valles caldera that has been maintained through the generation of shallow magma bodies during the long postcollapse history of the caldera. High heat flow at the VC-1 site is interpreted to result from hot water circulating below the base of the core hole, and we attribute the lower heat flow in the unsaturated zone to hydrologic recharge.

Item Type: Article
Publisher’s Statement: Copyright 1988 by the American Geophysical Union
ID number or DOI: 10.1029/JB093iB06p06027
Keywords: Thermal conductives; upper crustal magmatism; igneous acttivity; volcanism; valles calders; heat flow;
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Faculty/Staff
Department/Unit: College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Science > School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2015 20:24
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/936

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