Friday, August 19, 2016

Germany: Research Could Pinpoint Geothermal Reservoir

Characterizing the Faults Beneath Germany (EOS)

General structure of the Molasse basin (Courtesy Hartwig von Hartmann,
David C. Tanner, Sandra Schumacher)
As Europe flexed down under the weight of the Alps, a foreland basin—the German Alpine Molasse, which today extends from Switzerland in the west to the Czech Republic in the east—formed. Within this basin, geologists have found large faults that displace sediments. Although they are parallel to faults within the underlying carbonate platform, the two groups of faults are not physically connected, raising the question of how such faults could independently develop.

Luckily, the basin has been under intense scrutiny for decades: First, oil and gas companies scoured the region for any available resources; more recently, speculation that a newly discovered, deep aquifer could be used as a geothermal reservoir fueled further exploration. However, to characterize the potential reservoir, researchers needed to better understand the fault kinematics.

(Thanks to GRC Member Marcelo Lippmann, Staff Scientist (retired) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for the submission.)

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