Monday, December 15, 2014

New Zealand:

Deep Fault Drilling Project Looks for Geothermal Resources on South Island (Phys.Org)

Extending some 600-km from Milford Sound to Marlborough, the study of the Alpine Fault is New Zealand's flagship contribution to the world of geophysics. And now a sizeable portion of that community, drawn from 12 different nations have gathered in south Westland under the leadership of a team of New Zealanders from GNS Science, Victoria University and Otago University.

Their audacious mission is three-fold. First, they must drill down to – and hopefully through - the Alpine Fault which is estimated to lie at around 1 km depth beneath the Whataroa Valley. As the drilling proceeds, the team are monitoring a wide range of physical and chemical properties of the rock, gases and fluids encountered along the way. This is critical for maintaining the drilling momentum because constant adjustments need to be made as different conditions are met. These measurements are also revealing potential resources including geothermal waters that may be hot enough to become a viable energy source.

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