Geothermal Visualization: Comprehensive Examination of Geothermal Data

Various data types over a geothermal area.

Various data types over a geothermal area. Data includes temperature logs, 3D seismic, 3D gravity cube, surface geology contacts, aerial imagery, and surface gravitometers. Data courtesy USDOE Geothermal Data Repository.

The harnessing of geothermal energy from the subsurface involves a multi-step process of resource identification, exploration, development, and production. Data plays a guiding role in making each phase of the geothermal development project a success. The data collected during the geothermal exploration phase allows project geoscientists and engineers to analyze uncertainties of subsurface geologic properties and potential production zones.
Geothermal data coming from different sources often are recorded in vendor-specific formats. The integration and visualization of geothermal data in DGI’s 3D co-visualization software is a highly efficient way to analyze a wide range of data to make informed decisions.

Types of Geothermal Data

The understanding of geothermal resources is driven by a large amount of data acquired during the geothermal exploration phase. Various exploration techniques, including geoscientific surveys, downhole measurement, and remote sensing, contribute to the capturing of the essential geospatial data for subsurface characterization. The data acquired may include:

  • Well log data for subsurface petrophysical characterization, developing temperature logs
  • Core data obtained by drilling boreholes to obtain the rock sample. Techniques such as XRD, MRI, measured permeability and porosity, and thin section analysis provide information regarding rock properties and reservoir quality.
  • 2D and 3D seismic data for locating faults and fractures and identifying relevant stratigraphy
  • Gravity data for determining local and regional rock structure and basement depths
  • Magnetotelluric data for determining the subsurface resistivity and aquifer locations. The data is also useful in detecting geothermal anomalies including the presence of faults and caprocks
  • Heat flow data through wireline logging to determine rock temperature along the depth of each borehole
  • Surface data including geological mapping, GPS, and tiltmeter data
  • Infrastructure data obtained through GIS mapping
  • Aerial photography to identify intrusions and terrain obstacles
  • Remote sensing data like multi or hyperspectral data to identify different clays or hydrothermal alteration at the surface
  • Hydrogeological data to indicate flow path and lithological features like faults and fractures
This vast range of data is often collected in unique formats from differing service companies which makes the data analysis process challenging. By integrating and visualizing these data in a single platform, such as DGI’s CoViz 4D, geothermal engineers and geoscientists will be able to make accurate evaluations of the potential for geothermal development and the scale of the economic recovery from the project.

Visualizing Geothermal Data for Enhanced Analysis

The information obtained from the extensive geothermal data can be used to enhance the understanding of the geothermal reservoir and its production potential. Through the integration of these data, each data type can be effectively cross-correlated to derive a meaningful technical and economic analysis. The analysis can be further enhanced by creating an effective 3D model that facilitates asset teams ability to monitor the dynamics of the resource, determine the optimal well locations, properly scale power plant designs and identify the potential of other prospects on a local and regional scale.
Data integration and visualization technology like DGI’s CoViz 4D can efficiently integrate multi-disciplinary data into a single geospatial environment. CoViz 4D’s ability to co-visualize these disparate data formats allows asset teams to monitor the geothermal reservoir characteristics and fluid flow to give a more complete picture of the economic viability of an existing or potential geothermal project.

Using CoViz 4D for Geothermal Visualization

CoViz 4D is uniquely suited to the importation of disparate data and a robust visualization of information in a 3D or 4D format. The geospatial data obtained through the various surface and subsurface surveys and logging methods are essential for comprehensive geothermal visualization. The software further enhances the visualization by accommodating the file types like .kml and .kmz from open data sources into its data registry. By integrating, correlating, and visualizing the new and existing geoscience and engineering data, asset teams can make an informed decision during each phase of a geothermal project.

CoViz 4D, a data visualization analytics software from Dynamic Graphics, Inc., gives geoscientists and engineers the ability to easily access and combine all relevant geothermal data in a single platform. Powerful geothermal visualization capabilities enable you to explore surface and subsurface data relationships, calculate and show inferred data, and analyze how the data changes over time, allowing your team to confidently make informed decisions and reduce operational risk. To learn more about CoViz 4D contact our team.

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