Play fairway analysis of geothermal resources across the state of Hawaii: 2. Resource probability mapping
Ito, Garrett, Neil Frazer, Nicole Lautze, Donald Thomas, Nicholas Hinz, David Walker, Robert Whittier, and Erin Wallin
Geothermics 70:393–405, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geothermics.2016.11.004 (2017)
We develop a new geostatistical method to combine evidence provided by diverse geological data sets and produce maps of geothermal resource probability. The application is to the State of Hawaii, and the data sets include the locations and ages of mapped volcanic centers, gravity and magnetotelluric measurements, groundwater temperature and geochemistry, ground surface deformation, seismicity, water table elevation, and groundwater recharge. Using the basic principles of Bayesian statistics, these data and expert knowledge about the effects and importance of the data are used to compute the probabilities of the primary resource qualities of elevated subsurface heat, reservoir permeability, and reservoir fluid content. The product of these marginal probabilities estimates the joint probability of all three qualities and hence the probability of a successful geothermal prospect at each map point. An analogous set of algorithms is used to quantify the confidence in the probability at each point. Not surprisingly, we find that successful geothermal prospects are most probable on the active volcanoes of Hawaii Island, including the area of Hawaii’s single geothermal energy plant. Probability decreases primarily with shield volcano age, being relatively moderate in select locations on Maui and Lanai, relatively low on Oahu, and minimal on Kauai. Future exploration efforts should consider these results as well as the practical, societal, and economic conditions that influence development viability. The difficulties of interisland power transmission mean that even areas with moderate to low probabilities are worth investigating on islands with population centers.