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Geothermal Power Technology

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Mon 16 Dec 2013, 15:25:26

GEOTHERMAL-CO2 HOOKUP GATHERS STEAM

Carbon capture, the technology widely deemed vital to saving the planet from a climate disaster – but frustratingly slow to gain traction – could have a friend in geothermal power.

For a few years, scientists have kicked around the idea of exploiting a possible synergy between the two technologies. Instead of pumping carbon captured from fossil-fuel-fired generating stations or industrial plants underground for storage, they’ve suggested taking advantage of CO2′s favorable properties and using it to replace water as the heat transfer mechanism in geothermal power plants, improving their efficiency and making geothermal power more widely viable geographically.

Well, that idea is back in the spotlight this month, with a twist: A team of scientists is proposing to use nitrogen, in addition to carbon dioxide and water, in some kind of network of “subsurface concentric rings of horizontal wells” to draw underground heat to the surface.

The researchers, from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Ohio State University and the University of Minnesota, said this past week that “in computer simulations, a 10-mile-wide system of concentric rings of horizontal wells situated about three miles below ground produced as much as half a gigawatt of electrical power – an amount comparable to a medium-sized coal-fired power plant – and more than 10 times bigger than the 38 megawatts produced by the average geothermal plant in the United States.”


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 29 Jan 2014, 16:51:37

Using Engineered Geothermal Systems to Meet our Energy Demand

What is needed is a way to decrease the risk associated with drilling new wells, reduce the cost of produced energy, and expand the area where geothermal energy can be utilized to increase the potential for large scale deployment of geothermal power. Across the western United States, there is hot rock within a few kilometers of the surface with a huge energy potential. Studies conducted in the last few years have estimated that there is from 500 to 5000 GW of recoverable geothermal energy in this hot rock if we can develop an economic means to extract the heat. Remember that the total energy production of the United States is about 1,000 GW, so this very significant. The challenge is that unlike a conventional geothermal resource, the hot rock resource has no naturally permeable cracks to allow heat exchange with circulating water. Enter Engineered Geothermal Systems (EGS).

Unlike conventional geothermal systems that require hot water circulating through naturally permeable rock, EGS only requires heat, and that heat is abundant across the western U.S. and even some areas in the eastern U.S. Moreover, the heat is well-mapped and easy to find compared to locating a natural system with water circulating through permeable rock. The success rate for EGS wells is over 80 percent which solves the risk problem for new geothermal development quite nicely.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 20 Feb 2014, 16:41:16

California Geothermal Potential Largely Untapped

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) has released a new report to coincide with the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) development of a scoping plan for implementing their climate law AB 32. The report finds that California’s geothermal resources are remain largely untapped.

Geothermal power is “a viable, cost effective, and plentiful renewable energy option to meet California’s climate goals,” GEA told CARB. Utilizing the Golden State’s geothermal resources can help achieve “carbon reductions with the least total cost and highest power system reliability,” GEA reports.

In brief, the status report, Report on the State of Geothermal Energy in California, shows that:

Geothermal power generated 4.4% of total system power in California in 2012, but could have generated substantially more.

Geothermal power produces some of the lowest life-cycle emissions when compared to almost every other energy technology and even some renewables.

Depending on the resource characteristics and plant design, geothermal power plants can be engineered to provide firm and/or flexible power.

Even with high upfront capital costs, geothermal power is a competitive renewable energy source.

About half of California’s identified geothermal resources are still untapped, and significant resources may remain undiscovered.

Geothermal power is key to achieving an expanded renewable power portfolio at the lowest total cost.

New technology will reduce geothermal power risks and can expand the supply curve to make more resources commercially available.

The Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area (SSKGRA) is considered by many to be the best opportunity for growth in California in the near term.

Distributed generation geothermal power and heating projects have potential in a number of areas, but are not eligible for the type of support provided other distributed generation projects.

Challenges to growth of utility scale plants include weak demand, inadequate transmission, permitting delays, and a lack of coordinated policies.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 14 Mar 2014, 18:23:16

Can Gigawatts of Geothermal Save the Salton Sea?

Famously known for its rise and fall as a resort destination in the 50s and 60s, The Salton Sea area in California has struggled to find support for revitalization efforts. After all, the lake’s high salinity makes it nearly impossible for sea life to prosper, and as water levels continue to diminish, the exposed sea floor further contaminates the arid, stale air. However, there is one industry that is eager to take advantage of what seemingly little the area has to offer — geothermal. Under the surface of that toxic seabed are thousands of megawatts of potential.

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) has had its eye on the area for some time, and today announced that it has joined forces with the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) to support renewable energy development in the region.

The district has more than 2,900 MW of geothermal resource potential, and as the sea continues to recede, the potential grows, according to a recent report released by the GEA. The IDD believes these resources can be developed incrementally by 2032. “Not only is there more geothermal generating capacity in the Imperial Valley than anywhere else in the U.S., but geothermal energy can be produced with minimal impact on landscape and habitat,” according to the IDD. Of course, as is the usual story when it comes to geothermal development, there are some barriers to overcome first.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Sun 16 Mar 2014, 17:53:49

Japan’s first new geothermal power plant in 15 years to open next month

A new chapter in Japan’s energy industry begins when a new geothermal power plant taps into the nation’s famed seismic activity – opening the floodgates for dozens of similar projects across the country

Japan’s first new geothermal power plant in 15 years will open next month, heralding the start of a new chapter for the nation’s nuclear-hit energy industry.
The new geothermal plant is located in a region famed for its natural hot springs and volcanic activity in Kumamoto prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu.

The project has been masterminded by the Chuo Electric Power Co, which has set up a dedicated company devoted to geothermal activities and plans to open five further plants over the next five years.

The plant - the first to open in Japan since 1999 – will mark the start of a flurry of geothermal projects launching across the country, with a string of other companies following suit from northernmost Hokkaido to southern Kyushu.

These include Toshiba and Orix, who set up a joint geothermal power generation company last November with the goal of opening their first project in a hot spring area in Gifu prefecture next year.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 22 Apr 2014, 18:46:39

Global Geothermal Market Saw Huge 2013 Growth, Says GEA

The global geothermal industry had a boom year in 2013, bringing the most capacity online since 1997. The market saw 530 megawatts (MW) commissioned, which brought total global capacity to just over 12,000 MW, holding a steady 4 to 5 percent growth rate, according to the Geothermal Energy Association’s (GEA) 2014 Annual U.S. & Global Geothermal Power Production Report. These projects are located in the U.S., Philippines, Mexico, New Zealand, Germany Kenya, Australia and Turkey.

Looking ahead, there are 12,000 MW in the global pipeline, which refers to projects in phases of exploration or under construction, and 30,000 MW under development, which includes prospects (when a government tenders the property to a company for further exploration). About 10-16 percent, around 1,900 MW, of projects are currently under construction in 15 countries, and if all are completed on schedule, global capacity could reach 13,450 MW by 2017, according to the report.

If international progress stays on track, several countries, such as Indonesia or the Philippines, threaten the U.S.’ title for most nameplate capacity within the next decade.


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U.S. Development

The U.S. added about 85 MW of capacity to its portfolio in 2013 to bring its total up to 3,442 MW, adding new or refurbished projects in Utah, Nevada, California and New Mexico. These additions were 40 percent lower than what was added in 2012 as the industry continues to struggle with several roadblocks to development. There were also 1,000 MW of planned capacity in the works and about 3,100 MW under development, which also marked a downward trend from 2012’s 2,500 MW and 5,100 MW of planning, respectively. “Simply put, the U.S. geothermal industry is trending opposite of the international market, which is growing [steadily],” according to the report.



International Growth

Unlike the U.S., international geothermal development has been steadily growing, and 2013 was no exception. There are currently more than 700 projects under development in 72 countries. According to the report, about 10 percent of these projects have drilled injection and production wells or are in the process of constructing power plants. Fifty percent of the projects are in the exploratory stage and have drilled exploratory wells, acquired funding, or researched the resource.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 25 Apr 2014, 18:43:57

California's Salton Sea Initiative to Leverage Geothermal Energy, Improve Air Quality, an Industrial Info News Alert

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) (Washington D.C) recently endorsed the Salton Sea Restoration & Renewable Energy Initiative in California, which will leverage funds generated by renewable energy projects at the Salton Sea Resource Area to help finance air quality management and habitat restoration. Industrial Info is tracking 33 geothermal projects in North America with more than $5.8 billion in total investment value.

For details, view the entire article by subscribing to Industrial Info's Premium Industry News at http://www.industrialinfo.com/news/abst ... 5&refer=mw, or browse other breaking industrial news stories at www.industrialinfo.com.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Sat 26 Apr 2014, 19:47:04

INL researchers study developing Enhanced Geothermal Systems

A team of researchers at the Idaho National Lab is working on Enhanced Geothermal Systems.

EGS taps into the heat flowing in the Earth's crust and transforms it into a source of electricity. Unlike wind of solar, EGS is more environmentally friendly.

A group of scientists who were researching hydraulic fracking in the Bakken formation in northern Montana are taking the tools they developed on that project and applying the physics of fracturing to EGS research.

The work is being done in Cassia county along the Snake River Plain.

"The potential for electricity generation, there's enough potential to make enough energy for the whole state and for the whole region," said Rob Podgorney, chief scientist in the Environmental and Natural Resource Management Division.

Scientists are making a case to house a lab along the Snake River Plain.

There's a high amount of heat flow through the center part of the Snake River Plain. It's also one of the hottest places at accessible depths in the country.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 15 May 2014, 18:56:30

The Red Hot Renewable That Could Incite A Green Power Revolution

Earlier this year, researchers in Iceland found a new way to transform the heat generated by volcanic magma into electricity. The advancement could be especially valuable in Iceland, a country that has capitalized on its unique geology to derive a quarter of its electricity production and around 90 percent of household heating from geothermal energy.
And it’s just the latest innovation in a series of geothermal energy breakthroughs dating back a century to the first geothermal power generation in Italy in 1906. As these advancements continue, geothermal energy is clearly becoming a major renewable energy source waiting to be tapped — one that’s literally sitting beneath our feet.
“The worldwide market is moving towards double-digit growth,” said Karl Gawell, executive director of the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) during the organization’s recent International Geothermal Showcase in Washington, DC. “There’s lots of exciting things going on. Several years ago there were projects in 24 countries, this year almost 700 projects are under development in 76 countries across the globe.”
When it isn’t drawing on magma-heated steam, geothermal energy is generated by water heated in underground geothermal reservoirs to create steam and turn an electricity-generating turbine. The hotter the ground, the hotter the resource and the more energy can be generated. Iceland lies on two major fault lines and is one of the most tectonically active places on Earth, making it an obvious geothermal hot spot. The aim of many of the recent technological advances is to generate geothermal power economically from lower subterranean heat levels found around the planet.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby pstarr » Fri 16 May 2014, 15:42:49

Its not a new technology, just dumb behavior. Magma is 1300 °F to 2400 °F, and not conducive to much at all.
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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 16 May 2014, 16:21:53

I still think low temp geothermal (120F+) has the biggest potential. Saw a very viable project being done in Atlanta. Last time I checked I didn't notice any magma pouring out of the ground in Houston. LOL

I've been lucky enough to have soaked my butt in the geothermal Blue Lagoon in Iceland: https://www.google.com/search?q=iceland ... B900%3B601
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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Synapsid » Fri 16 May 2014, 17:13:07

It's true that there's lots of geothermal potential in the Salton Sea region. There's also the San Andreas fault, along with others less celebrated. I'd consider their presence a design constraint, and expect its effect to be higher costs of construction and maintenance. Development may well proceed but it's not a forgiving environment.

One of the major commercial products in that neck of the woods is CO2. Always a silver lining.
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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 16 May 2014, 17:26:41

Syn - And that's the idea behind low T geothermal besides being fairly universal: it very, very heap compared to the hot rock approach. Searched for Atlanta story and fond an old post of mine:

It seems as though low temp geothermal isn't being applied today in many cases where it would be economical. At least 10 years ago I saw a film of a project in Atlanta. It was for a nursing home under construction and was going to be used the system to supplement heating. Obvious very cheap equipment and materials compared to a development like The Geysers in CA. And just as obvious more universal potential. I don’t recall any of the metrics of the project but given that it passed economic muster when energy costs were less I would imagine it would make more sense today. I suspect the cost of the system was amortized into the construction cost of the facility and thus financed. Not sure how affordable it would be for residential users down here in Houston but we constantly have small business buildings and strip centers going up. I've never seen such systems advertised locally. But all it takes is a water well drilling rig and we have lots of those around. I used them all the time to drill supply wells for my drilling projects.

It's nothing more that a few holes a couple of hundred feet Deep, some plastic tubing and a ground source heat pump. Not a huge energy savings per installation but might be done millions of times.
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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Synapsid » Fri 16 May 2014, 18:27:30

ROCKMAN,

I like the low-T idea too, and it wouldn't cost much for feasibility trials in an area. There's potential all over the West and other places too. The Geysers has its place but I'd like to see expansion of human-scale stuff.

I worked briefly in geothermal in the Coast Ranges not far from The Geysers, long ago. My clearest memory of the area was a little dell that had a CO2 seep on the hillside and a pond at the bottom, with horsetails and a muddy little margin. There were footprints in the mud and small flattened areas strewn with feathers. CO2 flowed down slope and formed a layer above the pond, and birds that landed for water or looking for insects would pass out in it and die. A local bear had noticed and came by regularly to eat the corpses.

I love Mother Nature. She looks after her children but she is not a sentimentalist.
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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 21 May 2014, 20:07:48

Global Geothermal News Roundup: US Plants Near Completion, South America Closer to Tapping Resource

Geothermal projects are on the move worldwide. Some highlights include Oregon’s Paisley geothermal plant, which is expected to be completed this summer. Various projects are moving forward in stages of preparation and construction, including Mariposa, Chile; San Jacinto-Tizate, Nicaragua; and Biliran, The Philippines. China says it is establishing its own Geothermal Energy Association. Below you'll find brief updates on these projects and more.

U.S. States

Oregon: Paisley Plant Expected by This Summer – The geothermal power plant underway in Paisley, Oregon, now has a summer 2014 expected completion date. The cost for the 3-MW plant is about $21 million including a $2 million DOE grant and a $3 million Oregon Department of Energy business tax credit. It is expected to provide power output for up to 700 homes and replace Bonneville Power Administration power as the latter rises in price.
Utah: Geothermal Opportunities Explored – A story on DeseretNews.com points to geothermal success in Utah, and potential for future growth. “Bottom line is we suspect there is a very hot zone that extends between Delta and Milford (likely about 450 degrees at 10,000 feet). We know either end is hot because oil exploration wells around 1980 encountered these temperatures at depth,” Utah Geological Survey’s Rick Allis was quoted. “We are excited to get a handle on it.”
Africa

Djibouti: World Bank Issues General Procurement Notice for Four Wells – Next steps for the Djibouti Geothermal Power Project seem to be underway as World Bank invited prequalifications for drilling of four full-size production wells (deadline is June 11). From WorldBank.org: “The development objective of the Geothermal Power Generation Project for Djibouti is to assist the recipient in assessing the commercial viability of the geothermal resource in Fiale Caldera within the Lake Assal region. . . This project will tap into Djibouti’s volcanic riches as a source of power, and will play an important role in their policy to reach 100 percent green energy use by 2020.” Click here to read a GEA feature article about the project.
The Americas

Canada: Alberta Stands to Benefit from Geothermal – An article on GlobeAdvisor.com lays out three reasons to develop geothermal energy in Alberta: the relevance of existing oil and gas expertise; it would help diversify the province’s economy; and Alberta could be a leader in the market.
Canada: Valemount Residents Engaged in Geothermal Project – Representatives of Borealis Geopower have recently been conducting tests in cooperation with residents near their geothermal lease site in Valemount, British Columbia, in order to determine drilling costs and at the same time supply homeowners with information about their lands.
Chile: EDC to Drill at Mariposa – Philippines-based Energy Development Corp (EDC) will drill additional wells at its Mariposa geothermal prospect, Chile, within two years, the company told press. This year the company will spend $12.5 million on the project. The funding will go toward roads, drilling pads, and water supply.
Nicaragua: San Jacinto-Tizate Stabilization, Performance Testing Underway – Through the month of May, a 30-day stabilization period is underway for the San Jacinto-Tizate project, followed by a performance test.

Asia and the Pacific

Europe


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 28 May 2014, 20:23:37

Energy Department Announces National Geothermal Data System to Accelerate Geothermal Energy Development

In support of the Obama Administration’s Open Data Policy to make data more accessible to the public and entrepreneurs, the Energy Department today officially launched the National Geothermal Data System (NGDS), an online open-source platform that facilitates the discovery and use of geothermal data, enabling researchers to speed geothermal energy development. This innovative tool will allow academia and industry to access quantifiable, technical data in digital format, breaking down one of the geothermal energy industry’s greatest barriers to development and deployment of this promising clean energy source.

The goal of the NGDS is to accelerate research and development in order to drive down the cost and improve the accuracy of subsurface exploration while also encouraging investment in geothermal energy production. The public data platform encompasses thousands of databases, geologic maps, and reports, drawing from millions of digitized records that were previously unavailable—and can aid discovery of new data on geologic features, faults, seismicity, heat flow, geochemistry, drilling, and temperatures at various depths and in specific geographic areas. Already, industry is using the free, online tool to simulate geological features and locate and monitor geothermal reservoirs beneath the Earth’s surface.

All Energy Department-funded geothermal projects submit cutting-edge research data to the network through a dedicated interface called the Geothermal Data Repository. NGDS conforms to the U.S. Geosciences Information Network (USGIN) protocols, a joint undertaking of the United States Geological Survey and the Association of American State Geologists, and the framework uses the same free, open-source content management system as Data.gov, making NGDS data fully transparent to researchers and developers.

Find out more about the NGDS at www.geothermaldata.org. Learn more about how geothermal energy systems work through this new Energy 101 video.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 29 May 2014, 18:50:16

Indonesia to Start Work on World’s Biggest Geothermal Plant in June

Indonesia will begin construction next month of its long-delayed $1.6-billion Sarulla project, the world’s biggest geothermal power plant, the country’s chief economic minister said on Wednesday.

Southeast Asia’s largest economy, home to the world’s largest geothermal resources, is racing to meet power demand growth of more than 7 percent a year, with plans to add 60 gigawatts of capacity to its existing grid by 2022.

But the sector has struggled to attract investment because of complex regulations and difficulties securing project finance. A government plan to derive 12 percent of the country’s energy mix from geothermal power by 2025 seems unrealistic.

“The Sarulla groundbreaking will be very soon,” Coordinating Economic Minister Chairul Tanjung told reporters, adding that the project had reached financial closing and the government expected construction to begin next month.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 30 May 2014, 20:35:15

Iceland Moves Closer to Powering European Homes With Geothermal Energy

Iceland is moving closer to plugging European homes into the volcanic island nation’s geothermal and hydropower reserves via what would be the world’s longest power cable, according to the country’s largest energy producer.

“The more we look at this project, the more positive feedback we get,” said Hordur Arnarson, chief executive officer of Landsvirkjun, which produces more than 70 percent of Iceland’s power. “Over the past two years we’ve moved closer to this project becoming a reality,” he said in an interview in Reykjavik on May 21.

Iceland’s government and Landsvirkjun are studying whether the country should press ahead with the project, which could cost as much as 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion). Construction of the 1,170-kilometer (727-mile) submarine cable would need a bilateral agreement with the U.K. as well as deals concerning the purchase and sale of electricity.

The government estimates that 75 percent of Iceland’s energy is undeveloped. Hydropower from the nation’s glaciers accounts for about 73 percent of electricity production and the rest is generated from geothermal sources. Less than 40 percent of the available geothermal energy, which taps the earth’s heat, is used to make electricity.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 04 Jun 2014, 18:56:14

US Geothermal Industry Gets Huge Resource "Datapalooza" Boost

In order to move the nearly stagnant U.S. geothermal market along, the industry needs help identifying viable resources. The Department of Energy (DOE) has been hard at work developing a tool that will help this process, and recently announced the official launch of its National Geothermal Data System (NGDS).

NGDS is part of President Obama's Open Data Policy initiative and was released during the White House Energy Datapalooza in Washington, D.C., which "highlight[s] private-sector entrepreneurs and innovators that are using freely available data from the government and other sources to build products, services, and apps that advance a secure and clean energy future."

In what the DOE hopes will “change America’s energy portfolio" and accelerate the geothermal industry, NGDS aggregates state geological surveys from across the country into an organized information hub. This data includes more than 650,000 well logs, 530,000 borehole temperatures, and 1.7 million oil, gas, water and geothermal well headers from all 50 states.


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Re: Geothermal Technology

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 08 Jul 2014, 20:11:15

Taking the temperature of deep geothermal reservoirs

A lot can happen to water as it rises to the surface from deep underground. It can mix with groundwater, for example. This makes it difficult for scientists to estimate the temperature of a geothermal reservoir, which is an important step as they decide whether a site merits further exploration as a source of clean, renewable energy.

Now, Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a new way to take a geothermal reservoir's temperature.

The method isn't new really, but rather a high-tech makeover of a 20-year-old technique. It's a computer program, called GeoT, which calculates a deep reservoir's temperature by starting with the concentrations of dissolved salts in a fluid sample obtained at the surface, such as from a hot spring. It then reconstructs the data to reflect what the water composition would be in a deep geothermal reservoir, which can be one kilometer underground.

Because the solubility of a mineral is a function of temperature, this reconstruction can indicate the temperature of the subsurface reservoir.


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