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Alaska geothermal data now available to national audience


(Fairbanks, AK)— The Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys has contributed data relating to Alaska’s geothermal resources to the U.S. Department of Energy’s brand-new National Geothermal Data System, available at http://www.geothermaldata.org. This free online resource officially launched on April 30.

With data from all 50 states, the National Geothermal Data System is intended to aid efforts to explore geothermal resources as a source of clean, renewable energy. With funding support from the Department of Energy, DGGS and other state geological surveys have digitized and made available online more than 30 major types of data, resulting in the availability of more than 7 million interoperable data points, including 650,000 well logs, 530,000 borehole temperatures, and 1.7 million oil and gas, water, and geothermal well headers.

In Alaska, geothermal exploration activities in the late 1970s and early 1980s generated considerable quantities of data that was not readily accessible and in some cases unpublished. Currently, a fresh cycle of geothermal exploration is underway in Alaska, producing a wealth of new geothermal data. Alaska’s contribution to the national project comprises at-risk legacy data and new exploration data. These resources include 51 hot springs (hotter than 50°C/122°F) and 46 “warm to cool” springs (cooler than 50°C/122°F). Thirty-six are in the Aleutian Arc and south-central Alaska, 39 are mostly in the central interior belt that extends from the Seward Peninsula to Circle Hot Springs, 4 are in the Wrangell Mountains, and 16 are in Southeast Alaska. The Alaska data pertains to:

  • Geothermal springs (97 records that include location, temperature, and flow rate);
  • Aqueous geochemistry (653 records);
  • Geothermal wells (121 records from 9 well sites);
  • Bottom-hole temperature data from oil and gas exploration wells (409 records);
  • Volcanic vents and fumaroles (395 records);
  • Earthquake events near hot springs (1,974 events within 5 km of hot springs); and
  • Direct use geothermal sites (15 sites that use geothermal resources for recreation, electrical power generation, space heating, and agriculture).

As the result of this program, DGGS is also creating a “Geothermal Sites of Alaska” online interactive GIS-based map expected to be released by December 2014.

The state surveys’ contributions to the National Geothermal Data System were funded through a $21.9 million agreement from the DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office and led by the Arizona Geological Survey on behalf of the Association of American State Geologists (AASG). Find out more about the project at http://geothermaldata.org/ and the U.S. Geoscience Information Network at http://usgin.org/. Additional information on the Association of American State Geologists is available at www.stategeologists.org/.


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