Chemistry of Thermal and Nonthermal Groundwaters in the Rio Grande Rift And Adjacent Tectonics Provinces

  1. Robert E. Riecker
  1. Chandler A. Swanberg

Published Online: 21 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/SP014p0279

Rio Grande Rift: Tectonics and Magmatism

Rio Grande Rift: Tectonics and Magmatism

How to Cite

Swanberg, C. A. (1979) Chemistry of Thermal and Nonthermal Groundwaters in the Rio Grande Rift And Adjacent Tectonics Provinces, in Rio Grande Rift: Tectonics and Magmatism (ed R. E. Riecker), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/SP014p0279

Author Information

  1. Departments Of Physics And Earth Sciences, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico 88003

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 21 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1979

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875902142

Online ISBN: 9781118664988

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Keywords:

  • Olivine andesite;
  • Pre-rift and early-rift rocks;
  • Rhyodacite;
  • Rhyolite;
  • Silicic alkalic basalt;
  • Taos plateau volcanics;
  • Volcanic rocks;
  • Xenocrystic basaltic andesite (XBA)

Summary

Using the standard techniques of chemical geothermometers we have assessed the geothermal potential of nearly all thermal waters from Colorado, New Mexico and west Texas. In addition, we have also examined the chemistry of about 20,000 nonthermal waters from the same area. By far the greatest number of promising geothermal areas are located in the Rio Grande Rift with a lesser number located in the Basin and Range and Colorado Plateau provinces while none have been located east of the Rio Grande rift. Most of the geothermal areas are located along the flanks of the deep sedimentary basins and appear to owe their origin to water ascending along the basin bounding faults. Geothermal areas are also associated with Quaternary vulcanism.

Nonthermal groundwaters of the rift are enriched in silica relative to waters from adjacent provinces as follows: Rio Grande rift 32.3 silica mg/1 Basin and Range 29.5 silica mg/1 Colorado Plateau 15.1 silica mg/1 Eastern United States 11.0 silica mg/1

Using the linear relation between silica geotemperatures and heat flow (Swanberg and Morgan, PAGEOPH, in press) about 10,000 silica values have been converted to heat flow. The resulting new heat flow map shows a clear heat flow anomaly associated with the Rio Grande rift extending from Presidio, Texas well into central Colorado.