Umatilla Indian Reservation Geothermal Resource Study

This is an exciting new project to expand understanding of the natural resources of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (UIR) and move the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) one step closer to energy independence. AltaRock is working with HotRock Energy Research Organization (HERO), the CTUIR, and the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) to look at the geothermal resource potential of the UIR. We’ll determine whether a viable resource exists by studying the structural geology, rock outcrops, stratigraphy, and other signs of geothermal activity within the UIR. We want to develop a conceptual model of the area and identify the best sites for future exploratory drilling.

It’s a multidisciplinary project with three components:

  1. Geophysics: The USGS will conduct LiDAR, magnetic, gravity, and magnetotelluric surveys which will help identify the location and size of the geothermal reservoir.
  2. Aquatic geochemistry: Springs and groundwater samples will be collected in areas that the USGS surveys find to be geothermally promising. The CTUIR’s Field Station Analytical Laboratory, with USGS laboratory support, will analyze these samples for tracers of geothermal impact like temperature, silica, and boron.
  3. Field geology: Geologic field mapping will also be done in the areas identified in the USGS surveys as promising. In particular, we’ll look for fault traces and fracture patterns that could indicate a connection with deep geologic heat resources.

This project is considered Phase 1 of a larger multi-phase geothermal resource study. During Phase 1 we will determine if it’s feasible to generate electricity and use geothermal heat directly for commercial and domestic projects on the UIR. If so, a future Phase 2 project could drill deep exploration wells (> 1km depth) to design a functional and economically beneficial geothermal system. Project leaders include Trenton Cladouhos (ARE), Geoffrey Garrison (HERO), Jonathan MG Glen (USGS), and Patrick Mills (CTUIR).

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