The Role of Heat in the Development of Energy and Mineral Resources in the Northern Basin and Range Province



It is now just over a decade since OPEC escalated the price of oil and triggered a flurry of alternate energy research and changing energy consumption practices. One scientific impact of that historical economic turning point was the launching of geothermal exploration programs of unprecedented intensity that focused on Cenozoic volcanic rocks and active, as well as fossil, geothermal systems. The good science that was already being done on such rocks and systems was both accelerated and diluted by government-funded research and energy industry exploration efforts. After the initial flood of detailed reports, gray literature, and documents interred in company files, we are observing the appearance of syntheses of just what happened and what progress was achieved during the geothermal boom (which has now wilted to the quiet development of a few most promising sites). Recent examples of geothermal synthesis literature include the book Geothermal Systems by L. Rybach and L.J. Muffler (John Wiley, New York, 1981), publications like Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries Paper 15 by G.R. Priest et al. (1983) entitled “Geology and geothermal resources of central Oregon Cascade range,” and informative maps like the U.S. Geological Survey series summarizing late Cenozoic volcanic rock distribution and age (R.G. Luedke and R.L. Smith, maps 1–1091 A to D, 1979 to 1982), and state and regional geothermal resources maps (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, 1977–1982). The book under review here is part of this second literature wave, a useful primary reference, collection of syntheses, and literature guide but certainly not unique.