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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 analysis impossible.

Drilling Rig Setup.
Drilling Rig Setup.

We have developed proprietary methods for removing transient temperature 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 failure. 

Drilling a Test Well.
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) long. 

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. 

Thermonics Observation Tube in a Test Well.
Thermonic Observation
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 Thermonics include: 

Case History. Optimum Well-Site Location in the Tablazo Formation at the Chapucal Well Field, Ecuador, S.A.

Case History. Ground-Water Recharge and Transmissivity Distribution in the Hermosillo Basins, Sonora, Mexico

Case History. Well-Site Location Using Hydrogeologic and Thermonic Methods  at Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico

Case History Location of Paths of  High Ground-Water Flow in the Foundation of Tarbela Dam, West Pakistan

Case History. Location of Paths of Ground-Water Flow into the Marampa Open-Pit Iron Mine, Lunsar, Sierra Leon, West Africa 

Case History. Thermonic Location of Optimum Well Sites for Congress Junction, Arizona, U.S.A.

Case History.  Ground-Water Exploration in the Pearce-Squaretop Hills Area, Cochise County, Arizona, U.S.A.

Case History. Thermonic Exploration for Optimum Well Sites on the Sahuarita Bombing Range South of Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.

Ground-Water Exploration and Well-Site Location  in a Narrow, Gravel-Filled, Bedrock Channel, Vail, Arizona, U.S.A.

Case History Thermonic Ground-Water Exploration and Well-Site Location Survey near Liberal, Kansas, U.S.A.

Case History. Use of Thermonics in Studies of the  Karst Foundation of Wolf Creek Dam, Kentucky, U.S.A.

Case History Well-Sites Location and Tracing of Buried River Channel Sands in the Jurassic Morrison Formation, McKinley County, New Mexico, U.S.A.

Case History. Well-Site Location in the North Boundary Channel of the Cañada de Los Alamos Land Grant, Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A.

Case History. Thermonic Optimum Well-Site Location and Evaluation of the Ground-Water Flow System near Regina, New Mexico

Case History. Comparison of Conventional and Thermonic Methods for Evaluating Ground-Water Budgets - Santa Fe County, New Mexico, U.S.A..

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