This is my presentation with topic of geothermal energy potential in the Canadian Cordillera
It is simply the natural heat of the Earth
As we know western Canada sits along the Pacific Plate, known also with their volcanoes as well as considerable amount of thermal springs. These are all indications of geothermal resources that exists in the region. However, Canada still remains the only country on the Pacific plate as ring of fire that has not yet produced the energy for electric generation
The presentation will cover introduction on geothermal systems and their key elements I will also show you how those key elements of the geothermal resources are distributed in the Canadian Cordillera
So the main point I want to deliver here is an overview of types of geothermal resources that potentially occur in the Canadian Cordillera
A cartoon that may give you a better idea about geothermal system and what needed. Three elements are required, fluid as medium to transfer the heat below the ground, commonly associated with intrusion bodies or volcanism. The last one is the permeable conduits so the fluid can convectivelly flow to the surface. Recharge area is needed to make the system become sustainable.
One parameter in classifying the geothermal system is based on their reservoir temperatures.
Another way to classifiy the system from their nature and geological settings Types of geothermal systems 1. Volcanic geothermal systems, typically have high temperature reservoirs and associated with magmatism or hot intrusion. 2. Convective deep fluid systems or thermal spring systems in which the heat source is the hot crust at depth of 1-3 km, in tectonically active areas with above average heat-flow having normal to slightly higher geothermal gradients. In these systems, the meteoric waters circulate to greater depth of more than 1 km, through mostly fault systems with vertical fractures, to extract the heat from the rocks. 3)Sedimentary geothermal systems, are commonly found worldwide, characterized by low to moderate temperature. Heat flow regime in the systems is normally low. However as sedimentary rocks generally are low in thermal conductivity, the rocks can capture much of heat which leads to high geothermal gradients. 4. Hot dry rock systems, also known as Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), are high temperature systems usually associated with granitic plutonic intrusion with absence of natural convective hydrothermal resources.
A map showing how the Canadian Cordillera is divided into morphological belts based on their various tectonic and geological settings. The Canadian Cordillera developed in response to the collision from Jurassic to Tertiary of island-arc terranes against the western margin of North America. These can be roughly defined as deformed sedimentary strata of either North American (Foreland belt) or island-arc affinity (Insular and Intermontane belts) that are separated by belts of plutonic and high-grade metamorphic rocks (Coast and Omineca belts). Compressional deformation ended abruptly in the southeastern Canadian Cordillera during the Late Paleocene. At this time, crustal-scale extensional faults formed with associated plutonism and volcanism. From Eocene to Recent, the southwestern Canadian Cordillera has been affected by right-lateral, strike-slip faulting. In addition, the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt (Fig. 2) developed from late Tertiary to Quaternary (Lewis and Souther 1978).
Geothermal map of North America showing heat flow distribution with red and pink colors representing High to very high heat flow
Showing intrusive bodies in the southern Cordilerra with count out data the amount of the heat generation
Types of geothermal systems 1. Volcanic geothermal systems, typically have high temperature reservoirs and associated with magmatism or hot intrusion. The systems can be located within volcanic complexes with tectonic setting of adjacent to active plate boundaries or hot spots. The heat flow system is mainly governed by permeable fractures and fault zones. 2. Convective deep fluid systems or thermal spring systems in which the heat source is the hot crust at depth of 1-3 km, in tectonically active areas with above average heat-flow having normal to slightly higher geothermal gradients. In these systems, the meteoric waters circulate to greater depth of more than 1 km, through mostly fault systems with vertical fractures, to extract the heat from the rocks. Typical geothermal manifestations present are warm to hot thermal springs. Sedimentary geothermal systems, are commonly found worldwide, characterized by low to moderate temperature. Heat flow regime in the systems is normally low. However as sedimentary rocks generally are low in thermal conductivity, the rocks can capture much of heat which leads to high geothermal gradients. 4. Hot dry rock systems, also known as Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS), are high temperature systems usually associated with granitic plutonic intrusion with absence of natural convective hydrothermal resources. Hydraulic fracturing technology to exploit the hot dry rock systems have been actively applied recently particularly in Australia and France. Figure
Geothermal Reseources in Canadian Cordillera
Potential of Geothermal Energy Resources
in the Canadian Cordillera
Geology and Geophysics of Western Canada
University of Calgary
Geo means Earth
Thermal means Heat
Other keywords : geothermal systems, geothermal reservoirs,
geothermal resources, surface manifestation
Western Canada sits along the Circum Pacific, Ring of Fire
Rich in active young volcanoes, intrusions and numerous surface thermal
manifestations (hot and warm springs)
BUT, currently Canada still remains as the only country on the Pacific Rim
that has not utilized geothermal resources for electric generation
Source : http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov
Geothermal systems and their key elements
Distribution of the Geothermal Systems
To overview :
Types of geothermal systems that potentially occur in the
Key elements of geothermal systems in the Canadian
Cordillera and distribution of the geothermal systems
Source : http://geothermal.marin.org
Based on temperature range of the reservoir
250 - ~300°C~ 80-90°C
Based on their nature and geological settings :
1. Volcanic geothermal systems
2. Convective deep fluid or thermal spring systems
3. Sedimentary geothermal systems
4. Hot dry rock systems, also known as Enhanced or
Engineered Geothermal Systems (EGS)
Canadian CordilleraGeological Controls
High to very high heat
the Canadian Cordillera.
The highest heat flow in
the Garibaldi Volcanic
(Blackwell and Richards, 2004)
(Grasby and Hutcheon, 2010)
Canadian CordilleraGeological Controls
Potential heat source
for high temperature
Canadian CordilleraGeological Controls
Potential heat source for hot dry rock systems
or thermal spring systems
(Lewis et al, 1992)
(Grasby and Hutcheon, 2001)
springs in SE British
Columbia and SW
Alberta associated with
major extension faults
main thrust faults in the
MC-6 well, South Meager field in Pemberton Valley being flowed tested in Nov. 2004.
This well can supply a 20 kW pilot geothermal power facility
All types of geothermal resources from low to high
temperatures geothermal systems potentially can occur in
the Canadian Cordillera
The tectonic and geological settings of the Canadian
Cordillera adjacent to Pacific Plate margin, associated with
active volcanism, felsic intrusions and major extension faults
and main thrust faults may provide the main key elements of
heat source and permeable conduits that are required for
the occurrence of the geothermal resources.
The distribution :
1) Volcanic geothermal systems :
mainly in the Cascade/Coastal Plutonic Belt
2) Convective deep fluid systems :
broadly distributed throughout the Cordilleran belts.
3) Sedimentary geothermal systems :
the Peace Region, NE of British Columbia (Foreland Belt) and
Western Canada Sedimentary Basin
4) Hot dry rock systems :
Potentially exist in all for morphological belts except Foreland Belt
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A. Morphogeological belts, tectonic assemblages and Terranes. In – Geology of the Cordilleran
Orogen in Canada, Ed.Gabrielse,H and Yorath,C.J., Geological Survey of Canada, Geology of
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Grasby and Hutcheon, 2010, Controls on the Distribution of Thermal Springs in the Canadian Cordillera,
Proceedings World Geothermal Congress 2010, Bali, Indonesia, 25-29 April 2010
Grasby, S.E., Allen, D.M., Bell, S., Chen, Z., Ferguson, G., Jessop, A., Kelman, M., Ko, M. Majorowicz,
J., Moore, M., Raymond, J., and Therrien, R. 2011, Geothermal Energy Resource Potential of
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29-June 2, 2000
Lebel, D. (ed), 2009, Geoscience Needs for Geothermal Energy Development in Western Canada:
Findings and Recommendations, British Columbia Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum
Resources, Petroleum Geology Open File 2009- 03, 18 pages.
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Some of the Cited References