Recent models of Canadian isotherms could map where next-generation geothermal projects are viable in Canada

A collaborative investigation between Clean Air Task Force, geo-data modelling company Seequent, and the University of Twente have mapped depths up to 450°C temperature in Canadian subsurfaces.

An in-depth research paper presented at Geoconvention 2023 showed new models about “Earth’s lithosphere and the geodynamic environment thermal anomalies occur.” The intent behind these investigations is to harness a better understanding of where future next-generation geothermal operations could be most promising.

According to the abstract, “…geothermal energy has seen an intensification of interest because it may provide cost-competitive, carbon-free, always available renewable energy, while requiring significantly less land than other energy sources. Increased exploration of geothermal resources is occurring along with a boom in technological innovations, with an eye towards exploration of deeper and hotter geothermal resources.”

ThinkGeo stated that studying the isotherm will allow industries to consider some regions where more data and/or further studies are needed to understand the distribution of heat within the Canadian subsurface. So far, results have shown that some of the shallowest 450°C isotherm is found along the West Coast where volcanic and geological activity is most active.

However, the study greatly emphasizes that more research is needed to collect more accurate data. The abstract also states: “To explore for supercritical geothermal resources, an improved understanding of subsurface temperatures and pressures is needed. Successful characterization of the depth to critical isotherms and potential resource density requires a better understanding of the thermal structure of the entire lithosphere, yet actual hard data remains sparse.”

Nevertheless, this new research could be a vital component in planning future geothermal projects. The Eavor-Deep™ wellbore reached temperatures of over 200°C with a true vertical depth of 18,000’ in New Mexico. The demonstration at this site indicated that Eavor can drill to these depths efficiently and successfully, and as understanding about Earth’s lithosphere continues to grow, so will Eavor’s determination to push boundaries.

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