Commenced in January 2007
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Diffuse CO₂ Degassing to Study Blind Geothermal Systems: The Acoculco, Puebla (Mexico) Case Study

Authors: Mirna Guevara, Edgar Santoyo, Daniel Perez-Zarate, Erika Almirudis

Abstract:

The Acoculco caldera located in Puebla (Mexico) has been preliminary identified as a blind hot-dry rock geothermal system. Two drilled wells suggest the existence of high temperatures >300°C and non-conventional tools are been applied to study this system. A comprehensive survey of soil-gas (CO₂) flux measurements (1,500 sites) was carried out during the dry seasons over almost two years (2015 and 2016). Isotopic analyses of δ¹³CCO₂ were performed to discriminate the origin source of the CO2 fluxes. The soil CO2 flux measurements were made in situ by the accumulation chamber method, whereas gas samples for δ13CCO2 were selectively collected from the accumulation chamber with evacuated gas vials via a septum. Two anomalous geothermal zones were identified as a result of these campaigns: Los Azufres (19°55'29.4'' N; 98°08'39.9'' W; 2,839 masl) and Alcaparrosa (19°55'20.6'' N; 98°08'38.3'' W; 2,845 masl). To elucidate the origin of the C in soil CO₂ fluxes, the isotopic signature of δ¹³C was used. Graphical Statistical Analysis (GSA) and a three end-member mixing diagram were used to corroborate the presence of distinctive statistical samples, and trends for the diffuse gas fluxes. Spatial and temporal distributions of the CO₂ fluxes were studied. High CO₂ emission rates up to 38,217 g/m2/d and 33,706 g/m2/d were measured for the Los Azufres and Alcaparrosa respectively; whereas the δ¹³C signatures showed values ranging from -3.4 to -5.5 o/oo for both zones, confirming their magmatic origin. This study has provided a valuable framework to set the direction of further exploration campaigns in the Acoculco caldera. Acknowledgements: The authors acknowledge the funding received from CeMIE-Geo P09 project (SENER-CONACyT).

Keywords: Carbon Dioxide, Geothermal Exploration, accumulation chamber method, diffusive degassing

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