Greywacke of the Waipapa and Torlesse (Composite) Terrane form the basement of the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ), New Zealand. Together with inferred buried lavas, domes and igneous complexes they are likely to be the dominant rock type prevailing at depths >4km beneath the TVZ. A fundamental understanding of the rock properties of the deep formations is of utmost importance for the exploration of deep unconventional geothermal resources. An outcrop analogue study was conducted to improve the understanding of the thermo-physical rock properties of likely deep buried rock formations beneath the TVZ. A total of 145 core samples were taken at 10 locations inside and outside the TVZ and their grain and bulk density, porosity, matrix permeability, bulk thermal conductivity and specific heat capacity, and the compressional and shear wave velocities measured on oven-dry samples. Additional tests of the unconfined compressive strength were conducted for selected greywacke samples to quantify their mechanical rock strength.The obtained data indicates that the thermo-physical rock properties are mainly controlled by porosity, and minor by mineralogy, texture and grain size. Samples from Waipapa-type and Torlesse-type greywacke exhibit minor rheological differences, with Waipapa-type greywacke having lowest porosity (about 1% vs. 3%) and highest bulk thermal conductivity (2.5Wm−1K−1 vs. 1.7Wm−1K−1) and specific heat capacity (0.8kJkg−1K−1 vs. 0.7kJkg−1K−1). Matrix permeability is <1E-16m2 for all greywacke samples. Tested lavas exhibit heterogeneous rock properties due to their wide range of porosity (<1% up to 32%).The thermo-physical rock properties were tested at laboratory conditions (ambient temperature and pressure), which do not reflect the in situ conditions at greater depth. With depth, thermal conductivity and acoustic wave velocity are likely to decrease caused by micro fractures resulting from thermal cracking of the rock, while specific heat capacity increases.The data presented in this paper are expected to improve the statistical confidence on input data to geophysical and thermo-hydro-mechanical numeric models, and the ability to forecast rock properties at greater depths of the TVZ.
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research – Elsevier
Published: Sep 15, 2016
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