Seismic imaging in Long Valley, California, by surface and borehole techniques: An investigation of active tectonics

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Abstract

The search for silicic magma in the upper crust is converging on the Long Valley Caldera of eastern California, where several lines of geophysical evidence show that an active magma chamber exists at mid-to lower-crustal depths. There are also other strong indications that magma may be present at depths no greater than about 5 km below the surface. In this paper, we review the history of the search for magma at Long Valley. We also present the preliminary results from a coordinated suite of seismic experiments, conducted by a consortium of institutions in the summer and fall of 1984, that were designed to refine our knowledge of the upper extent of the magma chamber. Major funding for the experiments was provided by the Geothermal Research Program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and by the Magma Energy Technology Program of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), a program to develop the technology necessary to extract energy directly from crustal magma. Additional funding came from DOE's Office of Basic Energy Sciences and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Also, because extensive use was made of a 0.9-km-deep well lent to us by Santa Fe Geothermal, Inc., the project was conducted partly under the auspices of the Continental Scientific Drilling Program (CSDP). As an integrated seismic study of the crust within the caldera that involved the close cooperation of a large number of institutions, the project was moreover viewed as a prototype for future scientific experiments to be conducted under the Program for Array Seismic Studies of the Continental Lithosphere (PASSCAL). The experiment thus represented a unique blend of CSDP and PASSCAL methods, and achieved goals consistent with both programs.

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