Hydrogeochemical Characteristics of the Ngatamariki Geothermal Field and a Comparison with the Orakei Korako Thermal Area, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
The Ngatamariki Geothermal Field is located 20 km north of Taupo in the Taupo Volcanic Zone and has a boundary of 12 km² as delineated by magneto-telluric surveys (Urzua 2008). Rhyolitic deposits, derived from the Maroa Volcanic Centre, dominate the geology of the area with the 186 AD (Wilson et al. 2009) Taupo pumice mantling stream valleys in the area. The majority of thermal features at Ngatamariki are located along the Orakonui Stream on the western boundary of the field; the stream area is dominated by a 50x30 m geothermal pool filling a hydrothermal eruption crater. This crater was formed during a hydrothermal eruption in 1948, with a subsequent eruption in April 2005. Orakei Korako is located 7 km north of Ngatamariki and has one of the largest collections of thermal features in New Zealand. The geology at Orakei Korako is similar to Ngatamariki, but the area is dominated by a series of south-west trending normal faults which create sinter terraces on the eastern bank of Lake Ohakuri.
Water samples from springs and wells at Ngatamariki and Orakei Korako were taken to assess the nature of both fields. Spring waters at Ngatamariki have chloride contents of 56 to 647 mg/l with deep waters from wells ranging from 1183 to 1574 mg/l. This variation is caused by mixing of deep waters with a steam heated groundwater, above clay caps within the reservoir. Stable isotopic results (δ¹⁸O and δD) suggest that reservoir waters are meteoric waters mixed with magmatic (andesitic) water at Ngatamariki.
Reservoir water chemistry at Orakei Korako exhibits low chloride contents, which is anomalous in the Taupo Volcanic Zone. Chloride content in well and spring waters is similar ranging from 546 to 147 mg/l, due to mixing of reservoir fluids with a ‘hot water’ diluent at depth. Isotopic compositions of spring waters suggest that they are meteoric waters which mix with magmatic (rhyolitic) water, more enriched in δ¹⁸O and δD than ‘andesitic’ water.
Relationships between major ion concentrations and known subsurface geology suggest there is no hydraulic connection between the two fields.