Date of Graduation

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Geology (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Geosciences

Advisor

Mohamed H. Aly

Committee Member

Jackson Cothren

Second Committee Member

Gregory Dumond

Keywords

Earth sciences; Coso; Deformation; Geothermal sites; InSAR; Radar

Abstract

Earth’s surface movement may cause as a potential hazard to infrastructure and people. Associated earthquake hazards pose a potential side effect of geothermal activity. Modern remote sensing techniques known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) can measure surface change with a high degree of precision to mm scale movements. Previous work has identified a deformation anomaly within the Coso Geothermal site in eastern California. Surface changes have not been analyzed since the 1990s, allowing a decade of geothermal production impact to occur since previously assessed. In this study, InSAR data was acquired and analyzed between the years 2005 and 2010. Acquired by the ENVISAT satellite from both ascending and descending modes. This provides an independent dataset from previous work. Incorporating data generated from a new sensor covering a more modern temporal study period. Analysis of this time period revealed a subsidence anomaly in correlation with the extents of the geothermal production area under current operation. Maximum subsidence rates in the region reached approximately 3.8 cm/yr. A similar rate assessed from previous work throughout the 1990s. The correlation of subsidence patterns suggests a linear source of deformation from measurements spanning multiple decades. Regions of subsidence branch out from the main anomaly to the North-Northeast and to the South where additional significant peaks of subsidence occurring. The extents of the deformation anomaly directly correlate with the dispersal of geothermal production well site locations. Depressurization within the geothermal system provides a leading cause to surface subsidence from excessive extraction of hydrothermal fluids. As a result of minimal reinjection of production fluids.

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