Scientists at American Ground Water Consultants
(AGW) developed Thermonics, a new geophysical technique, that enabled
them to locate high capacity wells for a Horizon
Corporation in the Tucson Basin of Arizona.
Thermonics is based upon the redistribution of rising geothermal
heat by moving ground-water. As heat from the hot interior of the earth rises
through the water-bearing zone of the earth's crust, moving ground water partly absorbs
and redistributes the heat. The effects of this redistribution can be measured at
the land surface with very sensitive temperature measurement equipment. We at AGW
build and calibrate our own field equipment that can measure temperature to 0.005 degree Centigrade.
Without this accuracy, thermal noise near the surface can make
Drilling Rig Setup.
We have developed proprietary methods for removing
effects near the surface caused by wind and solar radiation and variable thermal properties of the
soil. This enables us to locate the best well sites.
At the time of our work in the Tucson Basin, there were more than
1,000 water wells in the Tucson Basin. They included residential, agricultural,
municipal, and industrial wells. The very best well in the Tucson Basin, at the
time, produced about 600 gallons per minute (39 l/s).
Our client, Horizon
Corporation, owned a large ranch property
20 miles east of Tucson and had
been hauling water. Their past ground-water exploration efforts had met with
Drilling a Test Well.
We applied our Thermonic method, along with standard geological
methods, and identified a narrow, sand-filled stream channel cut deeply into the
bedrock. The channel was only 100 feet (30 meters) wide and one-half mile (1.6 km)
The first well drilled into our target zone produced in excess of
600 gallons per minute. Seven more wells quickly followed. The best well
produced 1,000 gallons per minute (65 l/s). Flush with success, our client's
engineering and well-drilling firms decided there was water everywhere in the area. The ninth well site
was selected by the engineering firm. The 16-inch (41 cm) diameter well was drilled
to 1,000 feet (305 m). It missed the sand-filled channel, and produced several gallons per day.
Subsequently, we applied Thermonic methods to locating a reliable
well site for the small community of Congress Junction, Arizona. At the time,
Congress Junction had three wells which produced 25 gallons per minute for four hours.
After four hours, all wells began to suck air. The new well, located using
Thermonics, produced 75 gallons per minute (5 l/s) and never went dry.
Tube in a Test Well.
Thermonics has since been applied to a wide range of
problems both in the United States and abroad. A few of our projects solved by
Optimum Well-Site Location in the Tablazo
Formation at the Chapucal Well Field, Ecuador, S.A.
Recharge and Transmissivity Distribution in the Hermosillo Basins, Sonora, Mexico
Location Using Hydrogeologic and Thermonic Methods at Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico
Location of Paths of High Ground-Water Flow
in the Foundation of Tarbela Dam, West Pakistan
Location of Paths of Ground-Water Flow into the
Marampa Open-Pit Iron Mine, Lunsar, Sierra Leon, West Africa
Thermonic Location of Optimum Well Sites for
Congress Junction, Arizona, U.S.A.
Ground-Water Exploration in the Pearce-Squaretop
Hills Area, Cochise County, Arizona, U.S.A.
Exploration for Optimum Well Sites on the Sahuarita Bombing Range South of Tucson,
Ground-Water Exploration and Well-Site
Location in a Narrow, Gravel-Filled, Bedrock Channel, Vail, Arizona, U.S.A.
Thermonic Ground-Water Exploration and Well-Site
Location Survey near Liberal, Kansas, U.S.A.
Use of Thermonics in Studies of the Karst
Foundation of Wolf Creek Dam, Kentucky, U.S.A.
Well-Sites Location and Tracing of Buried River
Channel Sands in the Jurassic Morrison Formation, McKinley County, New Mexico, U.S.A.
Well-Site Location in the North Boundary Channel
of the Cañada de Los Alamos Land Grant, Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A.
Optimum Well-Site Location and Evaluation of the Ground-Water Flow System near Regina, New
Conventional and Thermonic Methods for Evaluating Ground-Water Budgets - Santa Fe County,
New Mexico, U.S.A..
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