I’m Melinda Horne, a master’s student in the Hydrology program in the Earth and Environmental Sciences department of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. My research involves analyzing a geothermal reservoir in south-central New Mexico.
The system was modeled in Fortran by Dr. Mark Person, who is my advisor. It is a two-dimensional model capable of simulating groundwater, heat and solute transport, as well as tectonic evolution and petroleum generation. With no surface expression, it is a blind geothermal reservoir, however there is one geothermal well with temperatures of 99 C at 371 m depth and a total dissolved solid of 1900 mg/L.
This geothermal reservoir is unique because it displays hotter temperatures at shallower depths – called a temperature inversion. Another unique feature is that it is located at the nexus of three hydrologic drainage divides and a buried geologic uplift. We believe that it is a steady-state system with a complex three-dimensional flow.
Determining Temperature and Flow Rate
Our first challenge was to determine the flow rate and temperature of the geothermal reservoir and regional flow system. To do this, we used Tecplot 360 to display the 2D model with temperature, heat and solute concentration contours. Then we extracted a temperature-depth profile from the model output at the location of the geothermal well to match the well’s temperature-depth data (see Figure 3).
The second challenge was to image the geothermal upflow zone and determine the salinity and lateral extent of the system. We extracted salinity in Tecplot 360 and then post processed in R to convert from model salinity to formation resistivity. The 2D formation resistivity plots were used to compare to the formation resistivity data we collected with surface electrical surveys (transient electromagnetics). The collected data, which are also 2D plots, were interpolated and contoured in Tecplot 360.
Why I Use Tecplot 360
I have been using Tecplot 360 on and off for about two years, and there are many features that I find useful. These were especially helpful for my research:
- Extracting Data – Without the ability to extract a precise line, I would not be able to match the geothermal temperature-depth profile.
- Customizing contour ranges and colors – very helpful for communicating my work!
- Reading in data – including whole-mesh datasets.
- Exporting the model – using the write data feature, post processing it, and then reading the data back into Tecplot 360 to display it.
Tecplot 360 is extremely easy and intuitive to use and has been an irreplaceable tool for my master’s research.