Abstract

Borehole televiewer, temperature, and flowmeter data recorded in six wells penetrating a geothermal reservoir associated with the Stillwater fault zone in Dixie Valley, Nevada, were used to investigate the relationship between reservoir permeability and the contemporary in situ stress field. Data from wells drilled into productive and nonproductive segments of the Stillwater fault zone indicate that permeability in all wells is dominated by a relatively small number of fractures striking parallel to the local trend of the fault. However, Coulomb failure analysis using our fracture orientations in conjunction with stress orientations and magnitudes determined by Ref. 1 suggests that fault zone permeability is high only when individual fractures as well as the overall Stillwater fault zone are optimally oriented and critically stressed for frictional failure. Fracture geometry may also play a significant role in determining reservoir productivity. The well-developed populations of low-angle fractures present in wells drilled into the producing segment of the fault are not present within the relatively impermeable segment of the Stillwater fault zone.

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