- © 2013 Mineralogical Society of America
This volume presents an extended review of the topics conveyed in a short course on Geothermal Fluid Thermodynamics held prior to the 23rd Annual V.M. Goldschmidt Conference in Florence, Italy (August 24–25, 2013).
Geothermal fluids in the broadest sense span large variations in composition and cover wide ranges of temperature and pressure. Their composition may also be dynamic and change in space and time on both short and long time scales. In addition, physiochemical properties of fluids such as density, viscosity, compressibility and heat capacity determine the transfer of heat and mass by geothermal systems, whereas, in turn, the physical properties of the fluids are affected by their chemical properties. Quantitative models of the transient spatial and temporal evolution of geochemical fluid processes are, therefore, very demanding with respect to the accuracy and broad range of applicability of thermodynamic databases and thermodynamic models (or equations of state) that describe the various datasets as a function of temperature, pressure, and composition. The application of thermodynamic calculations is, therefore, a central part of geochemical studies of very diverse processes ranging from the aqueous geochemistry of near surface geothermal features including chemosynthesis and thermal biological activity, through the utilization of crustal reservoirs for CO2 sequestration and engineered geothermal systems to the formation of magmatic-hydrothermal ore deposits and, even deeper, to the de-volatilization of subducted oceanic crust and the transfer of subduction fluids and trace elements into the mantle wedge.
Application of thermodynamics to understand geothermal fluid chemistry and transport requires essentially three parts: first, equations of state to describe the physiochemical system; second, a geochemical model involving minerals and fluid species; and, third, values for various thermodynamic parameters from which the thermodynamic and chemical model can be derived. The two biggest current hurdles for comprehensive geochemical modeling of geothermal systems are …